Tony Popovic says his Western Sydney Wanderers FC side have already achieved more than they could have dreamed of making the AFC Champions League final but has no doubt they are ready to complete the fairytale.
In easily the biggest match in the club’s short history, the Wanderers are 180 minutes away from capturing the biggest prize in Asian club football if they can dispose of host Saudi Arabian giants Al-Hilal.
Defying the odds right through the competition and beating some rich clubs to get this far, Popovic insists his side aren’t content with what they have already accomplished.
Although he believes the pressure is off his side heading into Saturday night’s first leg at Parramatta Stadium.
“I believe they were successful just entering the competition, that in itself was a fantastic story but these players weren’t satisfied with that,” Popovic told a huge media contingent on Friday.
“While I'm extremely proud of the group of players, we're here to win the final…our only focus is after that second leg is to be the champions. We've embraced the occasion. We know it's a final and we're not afraid of that.
“It's the biggest game in our club's history, as opposed to our opposition who has over 50 years’ experience but that doesn't mean we aren't a team that can win this final.
“It's here now and I know the players will play tomorrow night and I’ll have no fear looking in their eyes. I know they're ready.”
The Wanderers carry some patchy form into the decider, having lost both of their opening two Hyundai A-League matches this season.
But the club has often saved their best for the ACL and are confident they can exploit the weaknesses in the Al-Hilal line-up.
Despite the enormity of the occasion, skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley is adamant the players haven’t let the game’s importance – and huge reward on offer – be a distraction.
“Nervous is a strong word. We know clearly this is a huge match for us and Australian football so we're excited but we're not getting too carried away,” Topor-Stanley said.
“It’s a two-leg affair whatever happens tomorrow night there's still another week. As the boss (Popovic) said we've been working very hard towards this goal.
“From day one we've set out to be champions. We've all sacrificed and worked extremely hard to get to where we are. We’re not satisfied just to make the final we want to be champions.”
Wanderers stars Tomi Juric (groin), Matthew Spiranovic (ankle) and Brendon Santalab (hamstring) have all been under injury clouds this week and Popovic wouldn't guarantee they would all play.
“Brendon is the only one that's a real concern,” the Wanderers boss said.
“He will train today and we'll see how he goes whether he can be available. We would love them all to be available but we can't take a risk if they're not fit.”