Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey admits the A-League leaders were intimidated in last season’s semi-final destruction by Western Sydney Wanderers.
Roar coach Mike Mulvey has revealed last season’s painful semi-final destruction by Western Sydney Wanderers has spurred Brisbane on to their current A-League domination.
Ahead of Friday night’s return to Parramatta Stadium, Mulvey admits his side was intimidated by the Wanderers’ boisterous home crowd in their 2-0 defeat.
But he labelled it a “defining moment” for the future of the two-time champion club as they have jumped to a seven-point premiership lead.
Mulvey said lessons had been learned – and promises the Roar are primed for a superb test of their mettle in the top-of-the-table clash.
“Last year we were a little bit intimidated in that semi-final but we won’t be intimidated this time,” Mulvey said on Thursday morning.
“We feel the pain from last year, and what that pain did is it drove us on to do well in the off-season, made us come into the pre-season with our sleeves rolled up, and the players have responded magnificently.
“That was a defining moment in our future, not in our history, in our future.”
Mulvey mentioned James Donachie, Luke Brattan and Steven Lustica as young players rattled by the hostile experience in the tight, packed arena as Western Sydney swept into the grand final.
“There was some tears at the time,” he said.
“We had some younger players that came in and had never experienced anything like that before.
“We got caught up in the hype there.”
“Last year we were chastened and we go there this year with more experience, more settled and more organisation.
“We’ve evolved a lot since then, and this will be a great test for us.”
Victory will put Brisbane 10 points clear and with a game in hand over the Wanderers, virtually wrapping up the Premier’s Plate.
Lustica, released by Adelaide United to return to the Roar this week, looks set to get his chance to atone off the bench after being added to a 17-man travel squad.
Fringe Socceroo Ivan Franjic appears likely to start in his return from a stomach problem, which could see German maestro Thomas Broich move from left wing back into the midfield.
Mulvey confirmed Matt McKay (ankle) would remain sidelined but was hopeful of a return against Newcastle on Sunday week.