Wanderers aim for A-League title

'Rebuilding' isn't a word you'll hear uttered publicly at Pirtek Stadium, with Tony Popovic adamant Western Sydney must push for silverware in 2015-16.

The Wanderers achieved a fairytale AFC Champions League triumph in November last year but exited the Westfield FFA Cup at the hands of lower-league Adelaide City and struggled badly in the Hyundai A-League, finishing second bottom after successive grand final appearances in the previous two campaigns.

It's been another off-season of sweeping changes to the squad, with three Spanish players – Dimas, Alberto and Andreu – as well as Italian striker Federico Piovaccari and a new assistant coach Andres Carrasco brought in to try and revive the team's on-field fortunes.

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It might be expected to take time for the new arrivals to settle and begin exerting a positive effect on the Wanderers, but Popovic has insisted there will no talk of a transitional phase at the club.

Andreu in action for the Wanderers during their 1-0 Westfield FFA Cup win over Brisbane Roar.

"We've made these changes to challenge for the title again," he told the Daily Telegraph. 

"I don't want a grace period of three years, or say we need time. We want to challenge, and these players were brought in to do that. We enjoyed success and what it tastes like, and we want to get back up there."

The demands of balancing Champions League and Club World Cup commitments with pre-season and then the early weeks of the A-League campaign proved too much for Western Sydney to handle last term, although Popovic believes important lessons have learned from such a difficult period.

"We had a lot of success but then the last six months were difficult in the A-League," he said.

"In some respects it was good that happened. There were reasons for it, and probably if we hadn't had the schedule we had, it wouldn't have shown up the need for the next part of vision to be stepped up right away."

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic signals instructions from the sideline at Westpac Stadium.

The Wanderers' boss, who signed a new three-year contract in May, also believes the club are yet to receive the credit they deserve for becoming the first Australian club to conquer Asia. 

"Everyone had in their minds that it was impossible to do — well we did it," he said.

"The full extent of what we have achieved will not be known for a few years — maybe then it will be respected and appreciated for what it was."

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