Wanderers take an unexpected turn under Rudan command

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Western Sydney Wanderers got off to a winning start under new head coach Mark Rudan, defeating Perth Glory 1-0 in his first game in command.

In the dawn of the Rudan era, Wanderers who were second from bottom before kick-off with only one win in seven games, regained their stride with purpose and intent in their second win.

Dominating the field was something the fans have longed for and Wednesday night’s performance reinvigorated new hopes for them.

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In the space of three days since Rudan was announced head coach for the remainder of the season, vast improvement has been noted by supporters, accompanied by excitement for what is to come.

Ahead of the game against Perth, Rudan only had two days in training with his team. Those two days saw an immense change in the team’s gameplay with a rotating defensive structure that proved successful and renewed energy.

“I think you saw a completely different performance than previous which tells me that I’ve got smart footballers that take on messages quickly,” Rudan said.

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“We showed them [the team] some patterns on day one, day two was more defensive structure.

“We could be better, that goes without saying.

“It’s only just the start. Sixty hours or two days with them is nowhere near enough, but for them to have taken on those messages so quickly was pleasing.”

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What feels like a tonic to the supporters is the fact that Rudan is a Western Sydney local himself.

Wednesday night’s victory was of great importance to the new head coach because of his roots and comprehension of supporters’ previous frustrations.

His efforts in such little time were driven by the inspiration to pull the Western Sydney community together after extended detachment.

“I’m most pleased about the effort and the behaviour of the players. That’s probably the first thing we spoke about; what this club stands for, its values attached to it and the people that represent the area,” he said.

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“I’m quite ruthless in the way I work as well. An outside noise doesn’t bother me. I know and understand how disappointed the fans have been and they deserve much better.

“Being a boy from the west myself. It’s easy for me to verbalise it because I’ve lived it. It’s easy for me to understand what these people are about. It’s going to be a continuous challenge, embedding the fight, the grit, and the passion into all levels from the team to academy groups. That’s what we’re about.”

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With little time to familiarise himself with his squad, the newly appointed coach was very impressed by English defensive mid-fielder Jack Rodwell’s performance, who has also been named captain.

“I think he’s [Jack Rodwell] a wonderful character in the short time that I’ve got to know him. His CV speaks for itself but what I’m most pleased about is his attitude,” Rudan said.

“He embodies a lot of the values that I speak about. I thought he was superb tonight, not just the goal, in the 88th minute he’s closing, harassing, and winning balls. There were so many of them [teammates] tonight that did the same thing.”

There is still a long way to go for the Red and Black. One win after a drought will not be enough to determine this turbulent squad’s prospects, however, things may be taking a turn for them.

If Rudan’s impact can only progress, then the Wanderers may be back on track to their Tony Popovic days.

Feature image: Kick360

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Paloma Darjani
Covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2021/22 season. Studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney.

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