Western Sydney Wanderers defensive midfielder Dimas Delgado has hailed coach Tony Popovic as he and two Spanish compatriots look to have settled seamlessly into the A-League.
Delgado is part of the Wanderers Spanish triumvirate that includes fellow imports Alberto Aguilar and Andreu.
The three Spaniards have added flair and style to Western Sydney’s play and are a big part of the Wanderers’ success this season.
But Delgado puts his team’s achievement down to coach Popovic.
“Tony Popovic tries to get the best from each player,” Delgado said via a translator.
“And he wants always to work hard in training so the team can be 100% for the game. And with Popovic, he makes you do more because he tries to put your best in training in every session and this is why we are in the top two.”
The Spanish influence at the Wanderers doesn’t end with Aguilar, Andreu and Delgado. Like Adelaide United’s former head coach Josep Gombau, Western Sydney’s assistant coach Andres Carrasco spent time working at the Barcelona Academy.
Delgado said this influence is a big part of why his fellow countrymen have adapted to the A-League so quickly.
“One of the big reasons is the style of football,” Delgado said.
“And this is one of the reasons that why we are playing well and adapting was easy because the style of the team is always trying to keep the ball. For us, the first thing is the ball.”
“Another reason is that it Andres Carrasco brings more options for us.
“When we were playing in the academy of Barcelona we played like that and for us this is not new and the adaption was easier. The style is like playing in Spain and this is one of the big reasons why the Spanish players are playing well.”
Delgado’s spent most of his career in the Spanish second division. In the 2007-2008 season the midfielder was part of the Barcelona B side that qualified and won the Segunda Division play-offs under Barcelona legend and former coach Pep Guardiola.
The next season Delgado moved to Spain’s La Liga where the defensive midfielder played for CD Numancia.
Ahead of Saturday's Sydney derby, the Delgado feels his side have been performing better than their interstate rivals.
“I know that Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory are big clubs,” Delgado said.
“They are two of the best clubs in the A-League and they fight to win the league. But the Wanderers have shown during the last years that the Wanderers are better than them.”