Though their destiny still remains within their own hands, Western United’s quest to play finals football in the first year of their existence was struck a blow on Sunday evening when they went down 1-0 to Newcastle Jets.

One of the most entertaining games staged in the A-League this campaign, pre or post-pandemic break, the contest was ultimately decided by a first-half strike from Jets’ striker Roy O’Donovan, who should seen red 15 minutes earlier for an elbow on Andrew Durante, according to Rudan.

The defeat left Western four points adrift of sixth-placed Adelaide United - who play Sydney FC tonight - but with more games still to play than any other side in the A-League, they remain well-placed to stage a finals run. 

Hunter North England Health on Thursday issued an alert for attendees of that game to monitor themselves for symptoms and isolate and get tested immediately should they present after a man in his 20s that was in the crowd for the fixture was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Speaking to media on Thursday afternoon, Rudan said he was pleased with the way his side had bounced back from the disappointment of the Jets’ defeat and that their focus was on Friday evening’s clash with Western Sydney Wanderers.

“We’ve had a couple of sessions and I had to cut it short yesterday because they were really eager,” Rudan said.

“They were flying, they looked sharp, they looked good and I didn’t want to overdo them, I wanted to bottle up all that enthusiasm for tomorrow’s game.

“The first message from me after the game on the bus on the way back from Newcastle was positive.

“I thought the performance was really good, I don’t think we deserved to lose that game. If we can perform that way and perform with that level of intensity and quality, it will keep us in good stead.