Rudan provides fascinating backstory to relationship with opposition coach ahead of Derby

Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers’ Captain and Coach spoke to the press ahead of the highly anticipated Sydney Derby this Saturday night.

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Marko Rudan has levelled praise at his former teammate and roommate Ufuk Talay, as he prepares to come up against his old friend this weekend’s Sydney Derby.

Talay took over from Steve Corica as Sydney FC coach a fortnight ago, with Sydney sitting near the bottom of the standings with no points and no goals to their name after three games.

Sydney turned a corner completely in Talay’s first game in the hot seat, demolishing Adelaide United 5-1 at Coopers Stadium just prior to the international break. Now, his second game in charge will come against a familiar face in the first Sydney Derby of the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League season.

Rudan – who played alongside Talay at Sydney for two seasons – said he was pleased to see the him back in the A-Leagues, after leaving his last role as head coach of Wellington Phoenix’s men’s side at the end of last season.


“Well, we were roommates for three years,” he said on Thursday.

“I know Uffie quite well. [He’s] a really close friend of mine as well, really happy to see him at a club like this and he deserves to be here.

“He’s started off really well, but he’s a top coach, and we’ve always spoken about when we were teammates here at Sydney FC about coaching and how we’re going to coach together and it almost happened in 2017, and he went his path, I went my path and here we are now. Two of the biggest clubs in the league.

“They’re going to be well drilled, well organised. Everybody will know their roles and responsibilities. You saw the intent that they had in their last game, so we know it’s going to be a really tough game.

“The negative is that he’s had two weeks to prepare them even better, so it’s harder for us to really prepare for a game this week, because we can’t just go off that one game against Adelaide, albeit there was a lot of things there that were different from the era before.

“But, it’s all about us, to be honest, we’re not going to stop playing our game. We’re going to come here and attack.

“We’re playing differently than last year as well and we want to put teams on the back foot and go at teams and nothing’s going to change irrespective of the opposition and where we’re playing.”


Talay said he’s looking forward to the challenge this weekend, as Sydney look to build off the momentum garnered in the victory over the Reds.

“Very excited. A fantastic opportunity to play against the quality side,” he said.

“We’ve come off a great win against Adelaide and there was a good two weeks to build on that and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s another game for us, it’s a Derby, and I think it keeps the players focused leading into this game.

“We’ve come off a good win. Had a little two week international window to work on certain things with the players and I think it’s a great way to restart the season.”

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The Wanderers and Sydney split the four meetings evenly last season, with Western Sydney winning both away legs, but losing both home legs – including the most recent encounter in the Elimination Final back in May.

Rudan’s charges famously won the first meeting at Allianz Stadium around a year ago thanks to a brilliant goal from Kusini Yengi, before demolishing them 4-0 on Sydney’s home turf in March.

“Last year we were good here, not so good at home and in probably the most important one we lost in the finals,” Rudan said.

“That still kind of drives drives us for these sort of games, particularly this one coming up on Saturday night. We spoke a lot about it and reflected on that, and it should drive you.


“The pain of losing in the final, first go against probably our our fiercest rivals, but I’m not too sure, I believe it’ll be somewhat different with a new coach.

“Uffie’s now taken over, a quality coach and for mine, a top squad, one of the best in the league and there’s only one way that they’re going to be going, and we’re aware of that.”