Western United boss Rudan issues finals warning to A-League rivals

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Coach Mark Rudan says A-League new boys Western United have laid down a marker ahead of the finals series with their win over Sydney FC.

Western United are undoubtedly the competition's form team with four wins from five starts since the resumption last month.

Their first win over competition heavyweights and reigning champions Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval - a last-gasp 2-1 victory - says much about Western United's confidence.

"There is a huge amount of belief in this football club. We have a winning mentality and experienced pros and some of the finest young players going around," Rudan said.

"I dare say any other team in the finals won't be wanting to play against us, and I think that is a fact.

"Results don't lie, we have momentum at the right time of the season.

"The players shoulders are pinned back, their heads are high, so there is absolutely nothing that is going to stop us as far as we are concerned."

Rudan described the win against a full-strength Sydney FC as one of the club's "best-ever performances".

Sydney FC lined up with their best side since the mid-season hiatus with influential fullback Rhyan Grant returning from injury and all of their first-choice attackers in the starting side.

But Besart Berisha opened the scoring in the first half for Western United after star import Alessandro Diamanti laid the groundwork, and the Italian, along with Max Burgess, were a constant threat for the Sky Blues.

Berisha and Diamanti exited early in the second half, but that only allowed United's lesser lights to display their quality, even if Sydney FC dominated for periods.

Notably, Dylan Pierias managed to set up the winner in the last minute for Steven Lustica with a stunning turn of speed at the end of a high-intensity contest.

"We have conditioned these players in an extremely positive way so we have no doubt about these players playing a full 90 minutes," Rudan said.

"It was always going to be tough for us with so many games in a short space of time."

In their first A-League season, Western United will head into next weekend's semi-finals on the back of five matches in 21 days.

United, who were still jousting for a finals berth just a week ago, can now finish third should they defeat Melbourne City in the final match of the regular season on Wednesday.

Source AAP