24/05/2024

The Western Sydney Wanderers celebrate their win over the Newcastle Jets (Image: Western Sydney Wanderers/Twitter)

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Marko Rudan praised his side’s 2-0 effort over the Newcastle Jets on Friday night, which saw it move to the top of the A-League Men ladder after three wins from four matches.

Coming off a 1-1 draw at home to the Brisbane Roar last time out, they were thoroughly more convincing as they maintained their unbeaten start to the season.

The Wanderers employed good pressing from the front early and were determined to win duels, tackles and loose balls.

They were calm in defence while Newcastle built some pressure from corners.

Brandon Borrello hit the post 38 minutes in as both sides were fired up, while the Jets had their first shot on target minutes later.

However, just before half-time, the Wanderers hit the lead thanks to a driving run from Miloő Ninković, who layed the ball off for Calem Nieuwenhof. His shot hit the post; the ball found Borrello who played it in for Romain Amalfitano to score.

Speaking to the media after the win, Rudan praised the efforts of his players throughout the match.

“I thought we were superb in the first half, I thought we completely controlled them, with and without the ball, played some really good stuff, I thought we were great,” Rudan said.

Just over five minutes into the second half, Borrello found space down the right flank, as he cut inside onto his left foot and slotted the ball home in the bottom-left corner of the goal.

Lawrence Thomas was called into action to keep his clean sheet in the 56th minute, as he pulled off a smart one-hand reaction save to deny the Jets.

“Got our second one early on, and then we did what we had to do,” Rudan said.

“I thought, tactically, we were fantastic, fantastic. Probably our best performance. [There is] a long way to go and a lot more improvement, but tonight was great.”

Having dropped points at home to the Brisbane Roar last week, Rudan wanted to atone for that this week.

“You always want to start strongly, at home as well, and we had to make up for that performance last week and show our fans and members who we really are and they did that tonight,” the coach said.

The Wanderers had two new goalscorers for the season, with both Borrello and Amalfitano picking up their first.

They are not reliant on any one player for goals, with players contributing from the back to the front.

Rudan praised the efforts of all of his players tonight, who limited the Jets to just four shots for the match, compared to the Wanderers’ 11.

“I thought I had 11 brilliant players out there tonight,” he said.

“Fantastic, every single one of them were fantastic, they did their jobs superbly well.”

Speaking on the midfield options the team has, Rudan has high praise for his two central midfielders.

“Romain [Amalfitano] and Calum [Nieuwenhof] have been fantastic, probably not last week as such, but tonight they were good again,” he said.

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Furthermore, he didn’t want the praises on his team to just be focused on the defensive end.

“We’re much more than being a solid defensive unit, we work a lot on the ball and, like I said, in the first half, they barely got on the ball,” Rudan said.

“I thought we played through them really, really well, we had something like almost 60 per cent of the ball [in the first half].”

His side pressed well from the front to ensure the threat of counter-attacks was weakened, which was something he highlighted he found from the Jets.

“Again, clean sheets are always good, we want to be solid in that defensive shape,” Rudan said.

“We stopped them from counter-attacking; that’s what they did last week and stopped them from getting to pockets and playing through teams.

“They never played through us at all, like I said, we were superb without the ball and we were great with the ball.

“Our best performance with the ball this year.”

Looking ahead to their next clash against the Central Coast Mariners on November 5, Rudan said it was good to have momentum going forward.

“[The good performances are] something we need to continue, but when you’ve got confidence and momentum, it plays a huge part in professional football.

“We’ve got eight days, they’re going to have a day or two off now and they deserve it, so that’s going to be interesting for them.

“They’ve gotta recover well and they will, there was no injury concerns.

“Calum [Nieuwenhof] had a bit of a cork in the first half, got corked again the second half, other than that, they’re fresh as.”

Rudan was delighted with the work his side put into pre-season to ensure their fitness levels were high for this season.

“We’ve worked extremely hard in pre-season, really hard, they could play another game right now,” the coach continued.

However, fitness wasn’t the only thing he wanted to ensure was at a high standard for this season.

“The focus, like I said, in pre-season had been a lot on many different aspects of the game and this is a team that’s going to continue to grow,” Rudan said.

The Western Sydney Wanderers will look to continue their unbeaten start to the season at home against the Central Coast Mariners on November 5.

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