Even competition gives Western Sydney hope, says Babbel
Western Sydney Wanderers coach Markus Babbel believes every team can beat one another in the Hyundai A-League, and that there are no league standouts like in the cases of Paris Saint Germain and Barcelona.
The comments come as the Wanderers travel west to face Perth Glory on Sunday night at 8pm AEDT.
Perth Glory, led by the Wanderers' foundation coach Tony Popovic, are 20 points ahead of Western Sydney, and more importantly six points ahead of nearest challengers Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC and Melbourne City.
Babbel insisted the gap is not necessarily indicative of the gulf in quality between the two sides.
“The table is the one side, the other is to see how they play, which style they play, and I think if we bring our performance on the pitch, they will have a problem with us,” said Babbel.
MATCH PREVIEW: Perth Glory v Western Sydney Wanderers
“This is what I like in Australia: There is not a Paris Saint German, not a Barcelona...everyone can beat one another.
“The pressure is on them because everyone’s expecting a win from them, so we have nothing to lose.
“If we show our performance, I’m very confident we can get a result.”
One way the Wanderers may seek to snatch all three points from Perth is through new blood.
In recent weeks, Tate Russell has emerged as a solid defender and at only 19-years-old appears to have a long career ahead of him. The youngster has two appearances in the Hyundai A-League for Western Sydney, as well as four appearances for Australia’s U19 squad.
Further afield, and not necessarily youthful in the same fashion, recruit Kwame Yeboah has shown the talent which earned him a contract in Germany three years ago.
The former Brisbane Roar winger tried his luck with Borussia Moenchengladbach, before returning to Australia.
Babbel welcomed the players’ recent inclusions and hoped they could kick on for the Wanderers.
“I’m very happy for Tate (Russell), Kwame (Yeboah) — you have to think he was training with us two or three times, that’s it, and now he has to start,” said Babbel.
“I hope he’s adapting quickly, and of course we have to know also that he can’t play 90 minutes because he’s not 100 per cent fit, I think he showed what he can do.
“He’s a big talent, in the future he’ll definitely help us, and I hope for the other young guys who are maybe coming in that they can also perform, they’re not too nervous.”
The last time these two sides played was back in Round 1.
A 1-1 draw played out after Roly Bonevacia cancelled out Andy Keogh’s 26th-minute opener to ensure both sides split the points.
Much appears to have changed since then — can Western Sydney replicate that Round 1 performance on Sunday night?