Western Sydney’s Mateo Poljak believes Wanderers can bounce back from successive Grand Final defeats and go third time lucky despite the exit of Japanese marquee Shinji Ono and several key players.
The Croatian played every minute of Wanderers’ two Grand Final losses, going down 2-1 in extra-time to Brisbane Roar on Sunday and 2-0 to Central Coast last year.
Poljak, who has two years left on his contract, reiterated his determination to chase the 2014-15 A-League title when speaking to FourFourTwo in the wake of the defeat on Monday.
However, Wanderers will have to do so without Japanese midfielder Ono who will finish up with the club once his AFC Champions League commitments conclude, while Youssouf Hersi and Aaron Mooy will join Perth Glory and Melbourne Heart respectively.
“We were really close, we were like family, we wanted to win the trophy as a group,” Poljak told FourFourTwo.
“Most of the players have been together for two years.
“All the boys who won’t continue, it will be hard without them.
“We’ll miss them, but I’m sure the club’s already looking to replace them.”
Poljak insisted the remaining squad members wouldn’t shirk away from the hard work required to go all the way after the twin disappointments.
“It is harder when you come so close two years in a row and don’t win it,” Poljak said.
“But we’ve shown we can do it and if you asked every single player they’d say we believe we can come again and win it.”
Wanderers boss Tony Popovic was proud of his side in defeat and Poljak reiterated that sentiment.
WSW clinched AFC Champions League football for the second straight season with their runners-up finish, but Poljak said they were not satisfied yet.
“Every sportsman wants to win the trophies,” Poljak said.
“It hurts at the moment, but every professional can find bigger motivation in that.”
The 24-year-old former Croatia youth international will spend time in his homeland in the off-season, catching up with family members.
However, having inked a two-year extension last September, Poljak has no thoughts of leaving Western Sydney where he says he’s loving life.
“I’m not thinking about going anytime soon,” Poljak said.
“If I got a good offer, I’d consider it but at the moment I love it here, especially with the supporters.”
Poljak added a special thank you to the Wanderers loyal travelling band of fans for their sensational support in Sunday’s Grand Final.
“The atmosphere was amazing,” he said. “It was beautiful to play in front of that crowd and I’d especially like to thank our fans who came out in a big number all the way to Brisbane.”comments