Rudan: We’re all in this together

Coach Marko Rudan is confident his new-look Western Sydney are a different breed to the Wanderers who’ve tried but failed to restore the A-League Men club’s pride over the past five seasons.

The Wanderers beat Melbourne Victory 1-0 on Saturday night, the first time they’ve won their opening two games since 2019-20, and their first back-to-back wins since May 2021.

Western Sydney haven’t played finals since 2016-17 but Rudan was confident there was a fresh feeling of unity at the club.

“I’ve got a fantastic group,” he said.

“They’ve all bought in. It’s not just those players that go in and cross that white line. It’s a collective – we’re unified as a football club.

“We are going to work hard for each other and make sure we don’t let each other down. There’s a lot of trust in the group.

“We’re all in this together. We need everybody’s help, we’re only as good as each other.

“The mentality and the people that we’ve got at this football club, are second-to-none as far as I’m concerned.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 15: Players scuffle during the round two A-League Men’s match between Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park, on October 15, 2022, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Captain Marcelo and veteran defender Tomislav Mrcela kept a clean sheet and held Victory to one shot on target.

Rudan was confident the central defensive partnership could form a bedrock of the Wanderers’ campaign.

“Marcelo was the last piece of the puzzle. He came in the latest and I was looking for a real strong leader,” Rudan said.

“He was really motivated to come in and not just have a holiday. I mean, the guy has played in that many Champions League games, he’s won championships wherever he’s gone. 

“I needed a strong leader at the back and it’s exactly what he is and he’s fantastic around the group.

“First thing he said to me after the game was ‘let’s not get too excited’ … that’s the kind of leader he is.”

The Wanderers kick off a run of three home games when they face Brisbane on Saturday and Rudan was confident their intensity wouldn’t drop.

“The big, important thing this week is that we don’t get too complacent,” Rudan said.

“Because our next opponent is yet to win a game and we’re at home and probably expected to win and there won’t be any of that, particularly with this group that we’ve got.”