Shattered Santalab reflects on turbulent Wanderers season
Western Sydney Wanderers stalwart Brendon Santalab lamented the nature of a "rollercoaster" campaign that finished with their Finals Series dreams being shattered on Sunday.
Josep Gombau's side needed three points to beat Brisbane Roar to sixth, but they fell short in a crushing 3-2 loss to Adelaide United on Sunday.
Keanu Baccus' second-half sending off hastened a result that left them two points adrift in seventh, their second-lowest finish since entering the competition.
Santalab admitted the departure of former coach Tony Popovic on the eve of the opening round was a difficult challenge to overcome.
"It's been a real rollercoaster season from when Popa left," Santalab told Fox Sports.
"It was very tough for us all at the club, players and staff.
"I don't think we ever got into gear during the season. We were up and down and never gained momentum or consistency."
Sunday's defeat meant the club will be absent from the Finals Series for the second time in their six-season history.
Santalab sympathised with the supporters' disappointment over the premature conclusion.
"I feel their frustration. I understand. We have fantastic fans," he said.
"To send them off like this is very disappointing.
"We'll be back bigger and stronger next season, but we have a lot of work to do."