Santalab: Victory best in the A-League

On the eve of meeting the Reds, Wanderers striker Brendon Santalab has heaped praise on Adelaide’s bitter rival Melbourne Victory saying the Big V are the competition’s best side.

“I’m leaning towards Melbourne Victory,” the striker responded when asked by reporters who are the best team in the league.

“Adelaide is playing some good football but as you said they’re in a bit of a slump at the moment.

“But Melbourne [Victory] has been the most consistent side I feel this season, playing the most dangerous style of football if you like.”

While Victory’s clash with Roar has been cancelled due to Cyclone Marcie, Santalab and the red and black are preparing for another tiring round of travel.

The reigning champions of Asia fly to the South Australian capital on Friday for a clash with United before returning to Sydney then leaving shortly after for a midweek trip to Japan in the Asian Champions League.

There they face Kashima Antlers on Wednesday night, arriving back in Sydney on Friday, a day before the Sydney derby with the Sky Blues at Parramatta Stadium.

Tony Popovic’s men have five more ACL group games over the remainder of the Hyundai A-League season. However, Santalab was taking it all in his stride though admitted the Wanderers need to win every A-League game from here on in to make the finals again. 

“We’ve got some challenging times ahead, that’s for sure. But we have experience of both competitions from last season.

“But when we have to play an ACL game in Japan on a Wednesday and back up on a Saturday it’s tough.

“Fatigue plays a part no question. The schedule is what it is and we have to prepare as best as possible.”

Santalab also conceded his comeback from a shoulder injury sustained in last season’s ACL final may’ve been rushed a little.

“Under the circumstances we needed everyone on board as quick as possible. Normally it’s about a four or five month injury but I was back after three [months].”