Western Sydney’s veteran striker Brendan Santalab says he would love to end Sydney FC’s unbeaten run in the derby on Saturday night at ANZ stadium.
Heading into the third Sydney derby of the season, the Wanderers are not only looking to end the Sky Blues 19 game undefeated streak, but to also get a win in over their bitter rivals for the first time in nine games.
The last time Western Sydney beat the Sky Blues was in January 2014, and while ending Sydney’s invincible aspirations is motivation, Santalab said they are more focused on consolidating an A-League finals berth.
“Sydney FC haven’t been beaten this year and we want to put an end to that and there would be no better way than doing at ANZ on Saturday night,” he said speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo. “But it’s all about us. The focus is not on them, it’s not about halting Sydney ‘s season. We are in a position where we need to win.
“For us there is a lot more at stake we are fighting for a top six spot and we also have the ACL next week. “So it’s an exciting time for us and the club and this game in particular means the world to the fans and obviously bragging rights for the players and the club. It’s a huge game and I can’t wait for Saturday night.”
The Wanderers have recorded nine draws in the A-League so far, the most of any team.
And with only two win in their last 10 games, Santalab said their finishing needs to improve.
“It’s about taking our chances,” he said. “Against the Mariners I was on the end of a couple of great crosses and I didn’t put them away and we were punished at the other end. Sometimes you get a lot of chances in 90 mins and sometimes you get one or two. Roy O’Donovan was very ruthless in his finishing last week and did exceptionally well in getting his goal. We were just punished for not putting our chances away.”
In the last two seasons Santalab has been playing the role of the super-sub for the Wanderers and scoring on a regular basis, but the 34-year-old striker would love to be included in the starting 11 for Saturday’s derby.
“There is no bigger game apart from the Grand Final and I’d love to start this week,” he said. “All you can do is train well during the week and the rest is up to the boss. I try and give him no other option except for me to start with my work on the training pitch
“I’m very happy with the way that I’m going this season. I set myself high expectations and I’ve still got a lot more to go and a lot more to achieve. In one way, I’m very happy in another I know that I can improve.”
“Whatever happens whether I’m on the bench or starting I just want to do my best for the team and hopefully get the points”