Western Sydney Wanderers have found the man to replace Tony Popovic as head coach, with Spaniard Josep Gombau appointed as the club’s new boss on Wednesday.
Gombau is well-known to Hyundai A-League fans having spent two seasons at the helm of Adelaide United between 2013 and 15.
And from what we’ve seen from the charismatic and passionate Spanish mentor, he looks a good fit for the Wanderers.
Despite being just 41, Gombau’s coaching career has spanned almost 25 years, having gone into coaching as a teenager.
He began his career with youth teams in his native Spain, at club’s like CF Amposta and RCE Espanyol for a decade before his big break came in 2003.
It was then that Gombau got a role with Catalan giants FC Barcelona as an Academy coach.
In six years in the role, Gombau worked with some of Barca’s best young players who are now big stars in La Liga.
Gombau left Spain in 2009 for a head coaching position in Hong Kong with Kitchee where he enjoyed remarkable success.
He led the club to back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012, as well as winning the Hong Kong FA Cup twice and the League Cup once in four years in charge.
Further to the silverware, Gombau was named Coach of the Year two years running, was elected Head Coach of the Hong Kong All-Star team, while he also guided Kitchee to the Round of 16 in the AFC Cup two years in succession.
Gombau then joined the Reds for two seasons, taking the club to the Finals Series in both campaigns, while also overseeing the club’s Westfield FFA Cup triumph in 2014.
During his time at Adelaide, Gombau enjoyed a 44% win rate, which is the second best in the club’s history behind only John Kosmina (52%).
Under Gombau, the Reds also averaged 1.7 goals per game in the Hyundai A-League, the most prolific under any manager the club has ever had.
It’s a pretty impressive resume and it seems the Wanderers have found the perfect man to take them forward.
Gombau’s possession-based, attacking style should fit perfectly with the talent in the current Wanderers squad.
He’ll add to what is already a strong Spanish flavour at the club, with Spanish trio Oriol Riera, Alvaro Cejudo and Raul Llorente already settling in nicely in Western Sydney.
His passion was a real feature during his time at the Reds – who will ever forget his runs down the sideline to celebrate a goal – and it’s sure to endear him to the Wanderers’ incredible support.
And in news that is sure to excite the Red and Black faithful, Gombau’s best record during his time at Adelaide was against Sydney FC.
In eight games coaching against the Sky Blues, he lost just once and enjoyed wins on five occasions.
Wanderers fans will be hoping he can keep that record going, especially with the next #SydneyDerby just over a month away.
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