WESTERN Sydney Wanderers are riding a wave of confidence after back-to-back wins - but coach Tony Popovic is keeping his players' feet firmly on the ground as he prepares for the visit of the high-flying Adelaide United.
The Wanderers are still smiling after their 2-0 win against cross-town rivals Sydney FC last Saturday, although Popovic is concerned his players might become complacent as a result of their recent form. The buoyant mood in the dressing room following the victory was still evident during Thursday's training session, and while Popovic welcomes the added confidence, he has moved to ensure the Wanderers don't lose focus. The coach has implemented a more rigorous training schedule during the week, and said the players had responded well to their added demands.
''[I'm] just making sure that the players are focused in training, bringing them back down to earth a little, making sure they realise that was a derby win. That's done and dusted, and we have got to move to the next challenge,'' Popovic said. ''I'm very pleased with the application of the players in training, on and off the field. They look very focused, and they're determined to try and keep this run going, and that's what we aim to do tomorrow night.''
The A-League debutants have a chance to clinch three consecutive wins for the first time in their short history but face the difficult task of overcoming second-placed Adelaide United. Strikers Mark Bridge and Kwabena Appiah-Kubi return from injury to boost the Wanderers' attacking stocks, and Socceroo Aaron Mooy is in the frame to return to the starting XI. Popovic is spoilt for choices with a full roster of 21 players to select from, and is confident that a composed performance will continue their winning streak.
''Confidence is good but we're very grounded,'' Popovic said. ''The challenge now is can we put three results together on the bounce? And that's the task that faces us now. We know it will be difficult to achieve that, but we're at home, and if we play to our potential, we have every opportunity to achieve that goal.''
The Reds are emerging as the A-League's most in-form strikeforce, and have hit the back of the net seven times in their past two games. Argentinian attacking midfielders, Marcelo Carrusca and Jeronimo Neumann and Portuguese winger Fabio Ferreira have lead their swift and fluid attack. Although, Wanderers defender Michael Beauchamp said he was not daunted by the task of trying to deny Adelaide's forwards.
''I don't take it any different to any other game, you've got to be on your toes and ready for it … It will be a very tough match for us, and everyone will have to be on their game and be up for the challenge because they're a quality side,'' Beauchamp said. ''No nerves at all, only nerves of excitement. There are no nerves of fear, and that's the main thing for me.''