Markus Babbel insists the nature of Western Sydney Wanderers’ fifth straight Hyundai A-League defeat is ‘hard to accept’.
Wanderers had the reigning Champions, Perth Glory, under pressure throughout the match on Saturday night but were undone by a pair of set plays at HBF Stadium.
Former Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic admitted he ‘couldn’t say he wasn’t nervous’ on the Glory bench as the visitors dominated possession.
After goalkeeper Daniel Lopar was taken ill the night before the game, back-up Nick Suman deputised for the Swiss gloveman but the 19-year-old was a bystander, and Babbel could not hide his frustrations.
“We did many things right. Our goalkeeper, I can’t remember that he had a save,” Babbel said.
“It was a big disappointment. We had so much ball possession.
“In the last third, we had problems to find the right solution.
“But still, a couple of times, we were dangerous but still we could not score.
“This is what we said before. They are strong in set pieces and, two mistakes, and you lose the game.
“It’s hard to accept but the boys tried everything.”
The last time Western Sydney avoided defeat was a 0-0 draw with Brisbane Roar on Saturday, 2 November, and they have not tasted victory since beating Sydney FC 1-0 in Round 3, 50 days ago.
After a scorching start, winning three straight and topping the Hyundai A-League early on, the run of poor form has seen the Red and Black slip outside of the top six.
“We have to get up again,” Babbel added.
“It’s not easy for the boys because it’s a big disappointment again because we did many things right, but we have big problems with the way, how we played.
“If you have zero points then you’re not happy.”
Glory’s last three goals have arrived by a defender scoring from a dead ball situation.
Tomi Mrcela added the third against Melbourne City last week, while Gregory Wüthrich and Alex Grant found the net against Wanderers.
Popovic admitted that Glory’s set pieces covered up for an under-par attacking performance as Perth picked up their first home win of the season.
“Up until last week, I’m not sure we really looking like scoring from a set play, off a direct set play,” Popovic said.
“We’ve always looked dangerous off the short combinations with Diego [Castro] and Neil [Kilkenny], but we haven’t had many opportunities from a direct set play.
“Last week, we scored from set plays, and we did again [on Saturday].
“When you’re not at your best with the ball… I never felt we were at our best.
“Until the first goal, I thought we were very good.
“After that we had to defend a lot and we weren’t really great with the ball.”
Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets
Venue: HBF Park
Date: Friday, 20 December
Kick-off: 4.30pm local, 7.30pm AEDT