Wanderers players took control of their own destiny: Santalab

Western Sydney Wanderers ended their poor run of form only after the senior players took responsibility for their own performances following a week of soul searching in the wake of their painful derby defeat.

The Wanderers claimed their first win under the tenure of new coach Josep Gombau and their first three points since the opening day of the season after beating Central Coast Mariners 2-0 in Gosford on Saturday night.

Striker Brendon Santalab scored an impressive long-range shot and set-up a second, scored by Alvaro Cejudo, to clinch a win that came after the senior players assumed responsibility for the team's plight. In the days leading into the match, the Western Sydney players sought to avoid all excuses for their previous form and take ownership over their performances.

They didn't hold crisis talks after their derby defeat last week, rather set an example when resuming training on Tuesday, culminating with a polished, determined and fluent performance against the Mariners.

"It's a moment as a senior player [when] you need to take responsibility. We had a few older guys out there who really helped," Santalab said. "What we did this week was really focus on our individual roles. I think before this week we were focusing too much on other things externally and it's taken the focus off our individual performance. It was really back to focusing on the individual."

Santalab says he hadn't been as focused during a week of training as he was after their derby defeat, determined to end the Wanderers' rut.

"As a senior player you need to take that responsibility on yourself. I was in warm-up and [did] some of the best finishing I've been doing in a long time. I had a lot of confidence in my warm-up and also training this week, scored a couple of nice goals in training," he said.

The Wanderers entered the match burdened by the pressure to snap their winless streak and the expectation from fans to perform. Santalab admits it was weighing heavily on the players and scoring his first goal, he didn't so much celebrate as look up to the sky in satisfaction that he had put the Wanderers on course for just their second win of the season.

"We've been through a lot as a club in the last 12 weeks and I have to admit the pressure was building, three coaches in 12 weeks, a whole new philosophy, a lot of changes and we were hurt when Popa [Tony Popovic] left because we were set for a huge year. When you look at the table now it's still not great but [it's] ... more relief than anything," he said.

This story Wanderers players took control of their own destiny: Santalab first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.