Derby demolition won't unsettle WSW: Popa
Photo Source: AAP
Coach Tony Popovic has faith Western Sydney can regroup quickly from Saturday's A-League Sydney derby humbling in time for next weekend's grand-final rematch with Adelaide.
The Wanderers went down 4-0 in front of more than 61,000 fans at ANZ Stadium, after being picked apart by Sydney FC.
It leaves Popovic's side winless in eight games against their cross-city rivals, a hoodoo that will extend to more than three years before they meet again in January.
The club also remains without a round-one victory in its fifth season.
Despite that unenviable round one record, the notoriously slow-starting Wanderers have made three grand finals in the last four seasons.
"They won't get freaked out by that result" Popovic said.
"That's certainly not something we have to worry about at all.
"I'd be worried if they're not disappointed - I'm disappointed.
"But that won't be an issue."
Although Popovic struggled to see positives from such an emphatic defeat, he agreed with Sydney coach Graham Arnold that the scoreline wasn't a true reflection of the contest.
There were moments when the Wanderers could have turned around their fortunes, but for their own profligacy in front of goal and some brilliant shot-stopping from Danny Vukovic.
Kerem Bulut was twice easily thwarted by the Sydney gloveman, who then charged from his line to deny Mitch Nichols a certain goal that would have got them back in the game.
Popovic said Sydney simply "played the big moments better".
"The first two goals were very soft on our behalf," he said.
"But then at 2-0 we created numerous opportunities to go 2-1 and really be right back in the game.
"But we didn't take them.
"Then we got a send off and they scored direct. We got punished for everything."
Nimble Japanese winger Jumpei Kusukami was a rare positive for the hosts and one that could yield fruits throughout the season, while Argentine marquee Nicolas Martinez impressed in a 20-minute cameo off the bench.
Aritz Borda will be suspended for next Friday's away encounter with reigning champions Adelaide after being red-carded for bringing down Alex Brosque in the last 10 minutes.
Centre-back Robert Cornthwaite was incredibly lucky not to join him for his reckless two-footed challenge that took down Bobo and triggered a heated first-half brawl.
"I'm always going to try to win my challenges, whether it's a derby or a normal game," Cornthwaite said.
"If the ball is there to be won I'm going to try and win the ball.
"You want to be aggressive and set the tone, but I never go in to injure anyone.
"I did get the ball, and maybe it was a bit reckless, but the referee deemed it a yellow card."