Western Sydney Wanderers coach Mark Rudan is quietly confident that his side can pull off yet another positive result against the Melbourne Victory on Sunday night.
Though the Victory are missing key players, Rudan says this has not affected his teams planning going into the match.
“It makes no difference for me. We plan as normal, we go down to Melbourne with a mindset of winning the game, simple as that, irrespective of personnel. We’ve beaten them here, and the mentality is we’re going to go there and we want to do the same.
“We’ve been working hard on the mentality side of things and its important that we stay focused and disciplined, and that’s what I’ve seen. I’ve seen a really good week on the training paddock, the players are in good spirits, they’re fitter and stronger than they are seven weeks ago when I came. All signs are very positive from our end.”
With all clubs having to battle with multiple mid-week games, Rudan says he has enjoyed a rare full week on the training ground.
“We’ve had a full weeks training, which is always great. It’s always important – before the Sydney Derby that was my first full week that I had to prepare – it does make a difference. Then you’ve got to juggle up who’s feeling a few niggling injuries, and they drop out at the start of the week and things like that. But otherwise, not complaining, it’s fantastic to have the players for seven days.”
Rudan also confirmed that key midfielders Jack Rodwell and James Troisi were in contention to be selected in the travelling squad, but indicated that their selection was not a foregone conclusion.
“They’re in contention, they’re both now available to be selected in the squad to travel. Whether I take them or not is a different matter, because the players that have been there have done okay, they’ve been pretty good. They’ve had another full week training, which adds to their strength and their own confidence knowing they can get through a training week. We’ll make a decision on that one tomorrow.”
The Victory currently have the second best defence in the competition, and that is set to pose a sizeable test for an attack that has struggled to be clinical all season. Rudan admits that it is something they need to find a fix for.
“I’m not going to shy away from that observation, because it’s correct. We need to be better at decision making, we need to be better at our general shooting, and having the mentality and positivity that when you’re in the box, you’re gonna score, irrespective of who is the ball carrier and the movement in and around the box. That’s gotta change.
“For me, in that attacking third you can give them certain movements, but a lot of it comes down to instinct and their own quality and will and desire to score a goal or to assist a goal. And that’s what they get judged on, those in the attacking third are judged on stats as much as anything else, how many goals you score, how many assists you give.
“We’ve worked on it, particularly today, we had a really good session on attacking third combinations and situations, and that’s all you can do as a coach, right? Is bring up a problem and work on finding a solution, and that’s certainly what we did today.”
The Wanderers sit five points behind their opponents, who currently occupy the last place in the coveted top six, however Rudan is refusing to put any extra expectations on the match as one that is a ‘must win’ match.
“I don’t talk that way; they’re cliches that I know you guys like to use, and I know that some coaches might want to use, but it’s certainly not part of my vocabulary. That’s not how I operate, that’s not how I work, that’s not part of my make-up.
“For me there are non-negotiable’s, and there are things that we implement throughout the week. That’s how I talk, that’s the kind of communication I have with my players and people at my football club.”