Babbel switch pays off

Markus Babbel was encouraged by Western Sydney's second-half display as they earned their first away win since early November by beating Adelaide United 3-1.

Wanderers opened the scoring through Oriol Riera early on, but when Ryan Kitto equalised just before the break the coach felt he needed to make a change.

It paid off as goals from Roly Bonevacia and Abraham Majok secured the victory at Coopers Stadium.

Babbel, who saw keeper Vedran Janjetovic save Craig Goodwin's penalty in the first half, said he'd been concerned at what he'd seen after the opening spell.

"We were not playing the way we wanted to," added the coach. "We started quite well for 10-15 minutes but then the pressure was always higher and higher … we were tactically doing the wrong things.

"I said to them we drop with our sixes too deep, we were nearly in a line with them and then they had no pressure in midfield … Oriol and Roly … had no help from our midfield, so we changed things a bit and it looked much better in the second half."

Whether his team can go on and challenge for a Finals Series spot remains to be seen, but Babbel said the players would gain confidence from back-to-back victories – they beat bottom side Central Coast last week.

"We want to get results this is also fair play to the other teams … now we want to have competition on the pitch and we want to try to get a result," added the German coach. "There's so many games to go and we want to improve."

Western Sydney are 11/4 to win their next game against Perth Glory, who are 10/11 with the draw 11/4.

Wanderers are 14/1 to win 1-0.

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Babbel tipped to continue

Former captain Robbie Cornthwaite believes Western Sydney will keep faith in coach Markus Babbel, despite being almost certain to miss out on the Finals Series.

Wanderers have lost eight of their last 10 games and have only two victories from their 17 games overall.

There are still 10 rounds to go, but Babbel's side would need to make up a 16-point gap on sixth-placed Wellington Phoenix as well as overturn a big deficit in their goal difference.

Cornthwaite, who skippered the side in the previous two seasons, sees the Finals Series as being out of reach but doesn't expect the club to make a "big shock decision" to sack Babbel.

"I think Babbel will have at least until the end of the season, when the club will then reassess things," he said. "You've got the new stadium to come and I'd expect him to be looking at which players to keep and which to let go of.

"It's valid to say that the squad isn't what he wants, since he didn't put it together, although he did add some players."

Cornthwaite, who played seven times for the Socceroos, believes the club's owners will assess Babbel over the final games of the season now that he's strengthened his squad by bringing in Mitch Duke and Kwame Yeboah.

"They'll see if Markus wants to stay, what he thinks about the new season and what players he wants to bring in," he added.

Wanderers' only successes this season have come away to Wellington Phoenix in round 3 and at home to Central Coast in round 7.

They are not yet clear of wooden spoon danger, as bottom side Central Coast are only four points behind them.

Western Sydney are 4/6 to win their next game against Central Coast, who are 15/4 with the draw 3/1. Wanderers are 9/1 to win 1-0.

Babbel: Players stopped thinking

Coach Markus Babbel has warned his under-performing Western Sydney players that they are "playing for their future" after a 5-1 home thrashing by Newcastle Jets.

It was Wanderers sixth consecutive home defeat, with Babbel's side trailing 3-0 by half-time.

The German says the team weren't following his instructions in the match.

"The first 10-20 minutes we started well, but then, and I'm not sure why, we forgot the game plan," he added.

"If they stop thinking, then you get a result like this."

Babbel wasn't holding back the punches after the defeat, which leaves Western Sydney 16 points off the top six with ten games left.

It was their worst defeat of the campaign, but the coach questioned how much the players had invested in the outcome, saying they were "a different generation."

"They're not like us, when we played; if I lost 5-1 I would be upset for the entire week," he added. "With them, five minutes and then it's normal life.

"If we go into next season with the same team, I can't believe. They are playing for their futures, here or elsewhere."

Wanderers have now gone ten games without a win, and their lone highlight from the match came when new signing Mitchell Duke scored just after coming on as a substitute.

Three of the players who featured against the Jets come off-contract at the end of the season, including captain Brendan Hamill.

Imports Oriol Riera, Alex Baumjohann and Raul Llorente are also without deals.

Babbel saw his side let a two-goal lead slip in the final eight minutes of their previous game, when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Brisbane Roar.

But that is the only point they have picked up eight games and they are still in danger of finishing bottom of the league.

Meanwhile, Sydney FC are 19/20 to take care of Melbourne City on Sunday. The visitors are 3/1 while the draw is 5/2.

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Babbel: Battery was empty

Western Sydney coach Markus Babbel felt his team ran out of energy when they were held to a 2-2 draw at Brisbane Roar.

Wanderers were within seconds of grabbing their first win in nine games, but followed a familiar script of conceding late goals.

The coach made the point to players this week that they needed to be resilient at the end of matches, but it didn't help – and Babbel said that was down to them running low on batteries.

Western Sydney have now conceded nine goals in the last eight minutes of their matches over the past six rounds.

Babbel concedes they have found it tough to cope with the busy January schedule.

"It's every week the same. I think the first time we played a good style of football, deserved the lead, had everything under control," he said.

"We couldn't create many chances, we weren't 100 per-cent in the game, and then after 70-75 minutes, I saw the boys got really, really tired.

"This is the biggest problem we have – 90-95 per-cent of my team have never played 10 games in a row, three games in a week.

"You saw the battery was empty and then you start to do mistakes, you can't stay in the tactical discipline, and then you come under pressure."

Wanderers have signed former Central Coast Mariners striker Mitchell Duke until the end of next season.

Duke joins the club after a four-year stint with Shimizu S-Pulse in Japan, where he scored three goals in 89 games.

The 28-year-old, who played 66 A-League games for the Mariners before moving overseas, has been capped four times by Australia.

Meanwhile, Perth Glory are 10/11 to win Sunday's tussle with Newcastle Jets, who are 3/1 with the draw priced at 5/2.

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Roar net point with injury-time goals

Western Sydney continue to cough up late goals at an alarming rate, as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Brisbane Roar.

Wanderers were two goals up in stoppage time but still couldn't find a way to win, with Tobias Mikkelsen and Adam Taggart both scoring to deny them.

The visitors looked certain to pick up a first win in nine games, having scored twice in the first half.

But Markus Babbel's side are failing to follow his instructions to avoid shipping late goals.

This time it was keeper Vedran Janjetovic's howler that cost them the three points, as he failed to deal properly with a back pass and conceded a corner in the 96th minute.

From the resulting flag-kick, Taggart powered home a header that sent the home crowd home delighted from Suncorp Stadium.

Wanderers took the lead when Roly Bonevacia drove into the area and fired past keeper Jamie Young, the Dutchman scoring for the fourth consecutive game.

Kwame Yeboah then lashed past home following good work from Bruce Kamau.

The Roar wasted chances through Henrique and Taggart before Dylan Wenzel-Halls saw a 76th-minute strike ruled out for offside.

The home side did pull a goal back through substitute Mikkelsen in the 92nd minute – his first in the A-League – and from looking dead and buried they were able to secure a point through Taggart.

While it felt like a victory for Brisbane, in truth it was a result neither side wanted as they have a big gap to make up on the top six.

The Roar remain next to bottom with just nine points from 16 games while Wanderers, one place and one point better off, are 13 points adrift of sixth-placed Wellington and have played a game more.

Meanwhile, Perth Glory are 10/11 to win Sunday's tussle with Newcastle Jets, who are 3/1 with the draw priced at 5/2.

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Babbel concerned over goals tally

Western Sydney are being punished for their inability to convert chances, says coach Markus Babbel.

Wanderers went down 2-1 to Melbourne Victory at ANZ Stadium, leaving them with just one win in their last eight games.

They are now seven points off the Finals Series places, and the statistics show they are underperforming in attack.

Though Babbel's team are second in the A-League for attempts, they have the second-worst scoring record.

Wanderers are converting on a league-low nine per cent of their attempts, and it's a concern for their coach.

"I feel really sad for the boys because the performance was top," said Babbel after the game. "(I'm) very proud of our team; played a really good side, dominated them, created many chances, but this is the biggest problem we have.

"But we're not scoring; this is the biggest difference tonight. They had 3-4 chances, they scored; I don't know how many we had, 6-7 big chances, we couldn't score."

Babbel is looking for an improvement when his team host Wellington Phoenix on Tuesday, and isn't pinning all the blame on his forwards.

"It is not only the strikers; everyone can score a goal," he said. "You can see we had two massive chances with our set-pieces – it wasn't our strikers who could score a goal, this is a team problem at the moment."

Wanderers had most of the chances at Coopers Stadium, but came up against an in-form keeper in Lawrence Thomas.

They now have just one win in their past 16 matches against Victory.

Western Sydney are 80/1 to win the Grand Final.

Wanderers are 3/1 to finish in the top six.

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Babbel highlights energy issue

Coach Markus Babbel felt a lack of energy cost Western Sydney as they slumped to a 2-0 loss to Melbourne City.

Wanderers have only won one of their last seven games and are six points outside the Finals Series places.

Babbel was disappointed with his side at ANZ Stadium against City, who scored their goals two minutes apart in the first half through Lachlan Wales and Ritchie De Laet.

The coach, who took over in the off season, made a move ahead of the start of the transfer window by releasing defender Ruon Tongyik.

He has the chance to strengthen his squad and keep them in the hunt for the top six, but feels he has good enough players already at his disposal.

"I decided to come here, so now I have to work with the players that I have," he said. "If you believe [it] or not I love my work, I come every day with a smile to training because I love to work with them."

Speaking of the performance against Warren Joyce's side, Babbel made it clear he was unhappy with the way they conceded the goals.

"In the first half I wasn't happy with the performance because I couldn't feel our energy when we were on the pitch," he added. "I told the boys at half time that it wasn't good enough.

"I can't feel energy in the team and if you don't have energy you can't win games. There's no chance."

Wanderers agreed to mutually terminate the contract of Australia Under-23 international Tongyik, who joined at the end of last season from Melbourne City.

The 22-year-old leaves having made just two A-League appearances for the club, his time under Babbel having been affected by injuries.

Tongyik appeared 17 times for City in all competitions prior to his switch to Wanderers.

Western Sydney are 9/4 to win their next game against Melbourne Victory, who are 21/20 with the draw 11/4.

Wanderers are 11/1 to win 1-0.

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Baumjohann backs Babbel’s choice

Alexander Baumjohann accepts Western Sydney coach Markus Babbel made the call he felt he needed to when he substituted the star midway through the first half of last weekend's derby.

Wanderers made a big call after keeper Vedran Janjetovic was sent off for handling the ball outside the penalty area.

They were leading Sydney FC 1-0 at that point, but ended up losing 3-1 meaning what was a key substitution remains a hot topic around the club.

Baumjohann was caught on TV cameras storming off the field and straight into the dressing rooms when Babbel hooked him at ANZ Stadium.

The 31-year-old was then shown sitting with a towel draped over his head, and he admits being taken off made him emotional.

Babbel said he made the switch because he needed to prioritise his defence, given that they would have to spend most of the match with only ten men.

Baumjohann said: "I was very, very upset and sad that I couldn't continue to play, because I was so excited for this game. Being substituted after 25 minutes, it was not easy for me."

The player said it had been a very difficult decision for Babbel, and one that had to be made quickly.

"I'm not angry with him because I know it's very hard for him. I was just disappointed with the whole situation," he added.

Baumjohann felt the opening 25 minutes of the derby was the best Wanderers have played all season, but it all changed once they were reduced to ten men.

"Everything was perfect for us, and then we got the red card; these are things that happen in football," he said. "We cannot be angry with Vedran because he's saved us so many times."

Wanderers are 13/5 to win their next game against Adelaide United, who are 19/20, with the draw 13/5.

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Coach defends derby substitution

Markus Babbel defended his decision to take off Alexander Baumjohann at a crucial time in Western Sydney's 3-1 defeat to Sydney FC.

The coach decided to take off the player who had had a big influence up to that point, when he needed to send on a substitute keeper in the derby at ANZ Stadium.

Vedran Janjetovic had been dismissed for handling the ball outside his area, leaving Babbel needing to take off an outfield player in order for debutant Danijel Nizic to take over between the uprights.

Western Sydney had been ahead at that point, but though it was widely seen by fans as too-defensive move to substitute the attack-minded Baumjohann the home side went on to ship three goals.

Speaking of his decision after the game, Babbel said: "Alex is a fantastic footballer and I feel really really sad for him because he's one of our best players.

"But in this moment, for me it was clear we need legs now and we have to defend more than to attack. And Alex is a fantastic player offensive-wise, but defensive is not his biggest strength, so I have to make that decision."

As far as the Wanderers coach is concerned, what cost his team as they slumped to a fifth-straight loss to their derby rivals was the team's frail mentality.

Babbel said it would have been easier for him to accept if the goals they conceded to the Sky Blues had been well struck from outfield play.

The fact they conceded twice after the break from set-pieces didn't sit well with him as a former defender, he admitted.

"We are not hungry in this moment; we don't see the danger in this moment," he added.

"[So] we don't have to be surprised if you lose this game, because this is a good side."

Western Sydney are 11/4 to win their next game against Adelaide, who are 10/11 with the draw 11/4.

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Babbel reinforces need to fight

Fight and quality were on display for Western Sydney as they got back to winning ways against Central Coast, according to coach Markus Babbel.

Wanderers went into the clash with the bottom side having lost their last two games without scoring, but a superb strike just before the break from Keanu Baccus gave them a massive boost.

Jaushua Sotirio's strike in the second half wrapped up the points at Spotless Stadium, leaving Babbel well pleased with the performance and the result.

Midfielder Baccus notched his first goal for the club with a low drive past keeper Ben Kennedy from outside the penalty area.

Babbel said he'd made his players aware before the game that he was looking for a reaction after the previous week's 4-0 defeat to Melbourne Victory.

"I said this to the players during the week, 'you can fall down, this can happen but stand up – stand up and fight for your dreams, for the success,' said the coach.

"This for me today was outstanding…everyone gave everything and that's it, the good luck came on your side because you deserve it and to be fair it was a good performance."

Speaking of Baccus, who has been with the club for four years and was previously captain of the youth team, Babbel said he was improving a lot.

"(He's) one of the best players on the pitch," he added. "If he's doing the right things and listens to us he shows a top performance but it's not just today, he's shown good performances before."

Wanderers will go into next week's derby against Sydney FC boosted not just by their win over the Mariners but also following the Sky Blues' shock 3-1 home defeat to Wellington.

Western Sydney are 12/1 to win the Grand Final.

Wanderers are 11/4 to win their next game against Sydney FC, who are 19/20 with the draw 13/5.

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