Cole: Finals still within reach for Wanderers

Western Sydney defender Shannon Cole says it’s a huge relief for the Wanderers to have finally notched their first win of the A-League season and that making the top six is still possible.

Western Sydney beat Wellington Phoenix 2-0 in Penrith on Sunday, their first victory in 14 matches. Goals from Nikita Rukavytsya and Brendon Santalab sunk the Phoenix, who dominated possession with 60% of the ball and 142 more completed passes.

“It’s a huge relief,” Cole admitted to FourFourTwo.

“Winning is a habit that we needed to get into quick smart. There’s no quick fix but to focus on the process like we always do.

“We don’t like to rely on luck. We had our fair share in the Asian Champions League final, so we know every point has to be earned. Having dominated games and lost is frustrating.

“Perhaps winning through resilience and grit was the best way to break the drought. Fighting for each other in tough conditions like that brings the group closer.”

The 30-year--old hailed the 12,663-strong crowd at Penrith Stadium.

“Penrith was a great atmosphere,” Cole said.

“Even in the stinking hot conditions the crowd were amazing as always.”

The Wanderers remain rock bottom of the A-League ladder, 12 points behind sixth-placed Melbourne City.

However, Cole believes making the finals is not unrealistic for Western Sydney.

“The top six may not seem realistic to some people though, as everyone has seen, we don’t set realistic goals at this club,” he said.

The Wanderers take on the beleaguered Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium on Saturday before facing Adelaide United away, Sydney FC at home and Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.

The 2014 Asian Champions League winners also have a new ACL campaign beginning on March 4 at Parramatta Stadium against Guangzhou Evergrande.

Cole is expecting a difficult encounter against the Jets this weekend and said new signings Yusuke Tanaka, Yojiro Takahagi and Kerem Bulut have fitted in well.

“Newcastle will be difficult,” the midfielder said.

“We are expecting a final-like atmosphere that we know our travelling fans will provide.

“The new boys are starting to feel comfortable. They have a lot of quality and the right attitude which is the most important thing.”