Triumphant Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has given A-League semi-finalists Western United some crucial advice.
The sage advice of supercoach Ange Postecoglou will have been drummed into Western United players when they “go for it” against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.
United trails the Victory 1-0 heading into the second leg of the Victorian rivals’ A-League semi-final at AAMI Park.
Both sides enjoyed a remarkable rise up the A-League ladder this season after forgettable 2020-21 campaigns.
While the Victory, last season’s wooden spooners, have captured much of the attention under the guidance of master mentor Tony Popovic, United defied expectations by leading the competition for long periods of this season in John Aloisi’s first year in charge of the expansion club.
United eventually placed third on the ladder, three points behind the Victory and four adrift of premiers Melbourne City.
A 1-0 elimination final win over Wellington earnt United a semi-final shot at the Victory, and despite being beaten in last Tuesday night’s first leg, Aloisi’s men are confident of second leg and overall success, which would earn them a grand final berth.
“We know we’re going to get our opportunities, and it’s exciting,” Aloisi said.
“It’s virtually halftime and now we’ve got another game … and everything’s at stake. It’s a grand final we’re playing for.”
United’s rise this season has impressed former Victory coach Postecoglou, who has just completed a successful first season as Celtic manager, guiding the Hoops to Scottish Premiership and Scottish League Cup glory.
“He’s congratulated me on the season so far and what we’ve been able to achieve,” Aloisi said of his recent dialogue with Postecoglou.
“His advice has been in the past to be brave, to go for it, and that’s virtually what we have to do (in the second leg) – be brave and play without fear,
“That’s what our players will do. We’ll go hard at Victory – don’t worry about that.”
Aloisi has been within a game of the grand final twice before during his time as Brisbane Roar coach.
One was against Western Sydney in 2016 during Popovic’s time as coach of the Wanderers in a match the Roar led 3-0 before losing 5-4 in extra time.
“Football’s got many twists and turns and being involved in a few, I’m ready for this one,” Aloisi said.
Popovic said the Victory still had plenty of work to do to reach Saturday week’s decider despite taking a lead into the second leg.
“No one gives you a final – you have to earn it to get there,” said the Victory coach, whose side is unbeaten in its past 16 A-League matches.
“We’re on a fantastic run, but our sole focus is on this game
“We’re confident in our ability, we’re confident that through the different moments throughout the game that we can come out on top.”