Wanderers coach Tony Popovic joked he's too much of a novice to get caught up in mind games with Graham Arnold ahead of Saturday top-of-the-table clash.
Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic joked he's too much of a novice to get caught up in mind games with Central Coast rival Graham Arnold ahead of Saturday night's top-of-the-table clash - but he's not backing down from a fight.
Chasing eight straight victories and pole position on the Hyundai A-League table, the Wanderers refuse to be distracted by Arnold's pre-game jibe that nerves will get the better of the visitors before a big Bluetongue Stadium crowd.
The Mariners' boss suggested his side has had little time to dwell on the match due to midweek ACL duties whereas the Wanderers will have been stewing all week.
Popovic, who played with Arnold at club and international level, feigned ignorance when his good mate's comments were relayed but declared his team was not intimidated.
"I don't know. Is he playing mind games? I'm not sure. I haven't even looked at it or thought twice about anything that Arnie might say," he said on Friday.
"I'm new to this game so I don't know how to do that.
"We go there with confidence and a strong belief that we can be the first team to knock off the Mariners at home."
A Wanderers win would be significant on a number of fronts.
It would be their first win over the Mariners, the first time they've headed the table and an A League record-equalling eighth straight triumph.
"Our record over the last seven games has been very good and our away record's pretty good as well." Popovic pointed out.
"We know we have to do something that no-one's done if want to be top after this weekend.
"We're confident that if we perform to our capabilities we have an opportunity to do that."
Captain Michael Beauchamp added: "We've taken it as a normal week and the preparation has been fantastic.
"Beating the league leaders away from home (would be massive). Our time away from home has been pretty good this season.
"We won't be overawed."