Ante Covic admits Western Sydney turned up expecting to win last year's Grand Final and is adamant they have learned the lessons to go one step further.
Ante Covic admits Western Sydney turned up expecting to win last year's Hyundai A-League grand final and is adamant they have learned the lessons to go one step further next weekend.
The Wanderers shot-stopper was part of the side that failed to produce on the final day of last season, going down 2-0 to Central Coast.
It was a sad end to a remarkable debut season for the club but they have a chance to put things right this year after booking a spot in the decider by beating the Mariners on Saturday night.
Covic won an A-League title with Newcastle in 2008 so knows what it takes to produce on the big stage and believes his Wanderers team-mates are ready to put things right next weekend.
"Everything's a learning curve. Last year we had a phenomenal run and we probably expected to win the grand final," Covic said.
"Now we realise it's not something you just go in there and take away. You've got to earn it.
"This year we've been in a bit of a battle in the competition, we had to throw the ACL in and midweek games.
"We've played a huge amount of games in the last two months so we're battle hardened. We're a little bit wiser, mentally stronger and we know it just doesn't fall in your lap.
"As a playing group, being through one and that disappointment and not performing to the way we knew how, it's deep in our minds.
"We know exactly what went wrong last year and how that feels....as long as we bring out the performance we know we can put out on the field, we've got every chance of winning the final."
The Wanderers booked their spot in the grand final after outclassing the tired Mariners with goals in each half from Youssouf Hersi and Iacopo La Rocca.
It was some sort of revenge for last season's grand final defeat and continues a remarkable couple of years of success for the A-League's newest club.
Tony Popovic has guided them to back-to-back deciders, a Premiers' Plate and two ACL campaigns and Covic says they want more.
"Popa from day one has instilled a real sense of belief in the playing group," Covic said of the secret to the Wanderers success.
"I don't think he's the kind of guy that would accept anything other than success.
"He wants everyone to work as hard as they can, set the highest goals and achieve the biggest things you can in the game now and so far we've done that.
"In two years we've done a lot more than many people gave us any chance to do. We've been successful in Asia, we're in another grand final, first and second in two years so it's a winning mentality at the moment to this club.
"The more we get a taste of it the more we want it."