Western Sydney Wanderers boss Markus Babbel feels he still has the support of the club’s management to turn around his side’s ailing Hyundai A-League season.
The Wanderers were again left frustrated on Sunday evening as they fell 1-0 to Perth Glory at Bankwest Stadium despite putting in a fighting performance against the defending Premiers.
After conceding an early goal to Bruno Fornaroli following a defensive error, Babbel’s side were spirited in response but ultimately unable to rescue a result after failing to find the target with 19 of their 21 attempts on goal.
The defeat sees the Wanderers with just a single win in their 10 games since the start of November and in ninth position on the Hyundai A-League table.
Speaking to Fox Sports, Babbel dismissed suggestions he is running out of time to find a solution to his team’s form woes and is confident he retains the support of the Wanderers’ top brass despite external pressures.
“From the first day on until now they are absolutely standing behind us and trusting in our work,” Babbel said.
“Of course, it is also for them not easy at the moment if the results are not there. The game is a result game and it doesn’t matter how you play or if the boys are fighting. They want to see wins and we can’t bring it at the moment.”
However, Babbel acknowledged the buck must ultimately stop with him if his side cannot capitalise on the opportunity presented by their upcoming bye to refresh and reassess their approach.
“It was from the first day I was under pressure because this is my job," Babbel said.
"I am the head coach and I’m the man who has to bring results and if the results are not there then you have got critics.
“This is normal but I can handle it because I am too long in this business. For me it is more important that we get the boys’ heads up again and their chests out and start again.”
The former German international said it is crucial the team build on the positives in their performance – including their 61.9 per cent share of possession – when they return to action against Central Coast Mariners in Round 17.
“The boys were absolutely fighting. They did many things right but of course not over ninety minutes.
“This is one of the problems we have – we can’t keep the pace longer on a good level because too many players are not fully fit but this is the work for the next weeks."
Babbel added: "This is the only way we can get out of this situation. Use the fourteen days now to get fitter, to work on our tactics and our strategy and if we can bring this for a longer distance in the game then we will create more chances."
Noticeably crestfallen captain Mitchell Duke believes the players need to take the pressure off their coach and up their returns on the pitch.
“Unfortunately, it is starting to become a bit of a trend and we need to take it upon ourselves to break it,” Duke said.
“It’s becoming the same old story week in, week out and it is just not good enough, to be fair, from all of us as players out there on the pitch. We need to make it happen. We need to be ruthless.
“I felt like in the second half we were pretty dominant. I felt pretty good, there was good energy, but again we just lack that ruthless streak in front of goal.”
The Wanderers will be hoping their new marquee signing – former Premier League and Republic of Ireland international striker Simon Cox – will be available for the clash with Mariners to provide the spark in the final third.
“It’s good to bring in an experienced player and a goal scorer as well. And, hopefully, he brings in that bit of difference we need up front as well,” Duke said of Cox’s potential impact.
Central Coast Mariners v Western Sydney Wanderers
Date: Sunday, 2 February 2020
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Kick off: 4pm AEDT