Macarthur FC's Mile Sterjovski and Ivan Vujica at the pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Phnom Penh Crown. Photo Credit: Poletti/The Inner Sanctum

After making the finals in its inaugural season, Macarthur FC have been on the outside looking in until a fifth place finish this season, which will see the side play Sydney FC in an elimination final.

Despite an up and down season with AFC Cup commitments that saw the side play every three days for a significant portion of the season, coach Mile Sterjovski said he never doubted the side would make the finals.

“I had a lot of belief in the players and the staff to make this happen and it’s a credit to the boys for the hard work they’ve put in,” Sterjovski said.

“I just want them to enjoy the occasion.”

With a challenge against either the Central Coast Mariners or Wellington Phoenix over two legs awaiting should Macarthur emerge victorious, it will be tough for the side to make the grand final.

Sterjovski believes the side can go all the way.

“Definitely [we can go all the way]. We have a great squad, we have the belief.

“Anything can happen in finals football, so we’re looking forward to the journey and hopefully it continues after this weekend.”

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After finishing with the wooden spoon last season, and with a coaching change midway through the season after the departure of Dwight Yorke, Sterjovski feels that some squad changes and a full pre-season have helped the side.

“Having a full pre-season under our belt, learning the way we want to play and the structures, and just having that belief.

“I think the belief came right from the beginning of pre-season and it’s stuck all the way through.

“I’ve been blessed to have a squad that’s all willing to fight for their positions and play and understand we know what’s needed.”

After a 1-0 victory over Sydney FC two weeks ago after being sent down to nine men, Sterjovski knows it will be a difficult game against the Sky Blues.

“We’ve had a few results go our way against them in recent times, but it’s finals football.

“They have the experience in finals football, which we don’t have too much of, being a young club.

“We’re looking forward to the match and the boys are up for a big game.”

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