'Proud' Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic does not want the Wanderers' season to stop at the winning of the Premiers' Plate
|By MARK HUGHES
Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic struggled for words to describe the feeling after claiming the Premiers' Plate in the club's debut season, but said they still want more - to win the A-League grand final.
The Wanderers claimed an emphatic 3-0 win over the Newcastle Jets in front of a packed Hunter Stadium to clinch the Premiers' Plate much to the delirium of the near 10,000-strong Western Sydney travelling fans.
As a first-time head coach Popovic battled to explain the emotions he was feeling after the feat.
"Obviously happy, content - no real big emotions at the moment. I don't know maybe because I am new to this I don't know what to feel but the time will come when we reflect on the season and what a great achievement it has been," he said after the match.
"I am looking forward to telling the players how proud we are of them.
"It has been an amazing season and it was a great way to finish it off today. It was a pressure game for both teams the and the players really stood up. That is what I am really pleased about.
"I am extremely proud of them [the players] and we have been all year.
"Even at the start we were happy with the players, we knew they were performing well. You don't always get the results, but we stuck at it and we had a real sense of belief among this group and among this club and you can see those fans are something else. They travel a long way to support this team and they really part of this club and the players feel a part of the fans as well, and it shows."
Popovic said the fact Premiers' Plate silverware was what the club prized the most, but said they were also intent on winning the grand final and claiming an amazing double in the debut season.
"Although in this country the grand final winners are recognised as the champions and we have to respect that, but there is a reason why last year the Central Coast was given the automatic spot and Brisbane were given the half spot – around the world, if you come first in the league you are a worthy champion and that is what I will be telling the players," Popovic said.
"But there is still a job to do and in this country we celebrate the grand final winners and that is what we want to do. We will do everything we can in two weeks time to get into that grand final which would be special for the players the fans and the whole club."
The Wanderers boss said the confidence of being the premiers - on the back of a 12-game unbeaten run - will hold the squad in great stead as they head into their maiden finals series.
"We go in with a lot of belief and confidence and we go in as the Premiers - that is a fact," he said.
"They [the players] can celebrate now in the change-room and enjoy the bus trip back, which we certainly will, but when they wake up tomorrow they will reflect on an amazing achievement but there is still more to come, there is more to do, we want to win that match in Parramatta.
"We give ourselves a chance, it is a one-off game so anything can happen but we will back ourselves at home."