Western Sydney Wanderers boss Mark Rudan says he will aim to keep the young centre back Phil Cancar’s feet firmly on the ground after his match-winning goal against Adelaide United.
The Wanderers aim to strengthen their climb towards an A-League Men finals spot when they face Adelaide for a second time in a week as they welcome Carl Veart’s side to Commbank Stadium on Sunday.
The Wanderers secured a come-from-behind 2-1 win on Wednesday with Cancar notching the winner.
That nearly didn’t happen given Rudan said he considered substituting the 20-year-old defender after he suffered a torrid time coping with Adelaide’s front line.
Cancar, who only returned to Australia from Croatia due to the pandemic, has been one of the standouts under Rudan.
But the Wanderers boss wants the energetic defender to keep his feet on the ground and continue to build.
“I gave him his debut and he dealt with that and players always have challenges and go through ups and downs,” Rudan said.
“It’s about making sure they do things well and not getting carried away with what people say about them because I see it so often in this country that a player plays two or three games and they’re the next big superstar.”
Rudan has been credited with resuscitating a season that looked to be destined for failure when he took over from axed coach Carl Robinson.
Under his tenure the Wanderers have yet to win back-to-back games but have shown signs of improvement to sit on the cusp of a finals berth.
The biggest indicator that they have turned a corner was the manner in which they fought back to beat Adelaide.
Rudan has said in the past that his side struggled to respond well after conceding but he believes they have undergone a change in mentality.
“It was impressive; we were away from home and a goal down and finding a way to win having not played well,” he said.
“It wasn’t our best performance in the first half but you can’t take away that grit and determination to get back into it and then find the winner.
“Adelaide score more goals after 80 minutes than any other team and we held them out.
“The key is to stay grounded and do what we did in the second half from the outset.”