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Popovic laments another title near-miss

They've achieved more than many A-League clubs in a shorter space of time, but there's still one gaping hole in Western Sydney's trophy cabinet.

The Wanderers' bid for a maiden championship fell at the final hurdle for the third time in four years on Sunday, roundly beaten 3-1 by Adelaide United at Adelaide Oval.

They were outplayed in a 2-0 first half, and though they rallied in the second and pulled a goal back when Scott Neville lashed a lovely strike, Pablo Sanchez scored late to seal the result.

As the Reds squad cheered and chanted and sprayed champagne in their dressing room, Wanderers coach Tony Popovic cut a deflated figure, grieving for what their opponents had just won - a first title.

"There's one thing that's missing for this football club and that's winning the grand final," Popovic said.

"We've won a (Asian) Champions League, we've got a Premiers Plate.

"So I think for a young club we're in the right direction, that's for sure, and we'll keep working hard to add the silverware."

Popovic suggested Adelaide had eschewed beautiful football and replaced it with long balls and second balls, and he rued his own team's inability to adequately deal with them.

"That is what you get in a final and they dealt with it better than us," he said.

"You don't get many (moments) in a final, they took theirs."

It's a weight the Wanderers will carry throughout another off-season, when they'll again reassess and prepare not only for another chance in the A-League, but also their re-entry into the Asian Champions League.

In Popovic's eyes, there's only one way the mental burden can be lifted.

"We have got to win one," Popovic said.

"Unless you make a final, you can't win one.

"We will do everything we can to get another shot at it next year.

"And if we do, we'll do everything we can to make sure we're celebrating like Adelaide tonight."