Western Sydney Wanderers coach Carl Robinson has called on the people of Western Sydney to get behind their team as they gear up for the round one Sydney Derby.
In this, the club’s 10th season and after four seasons out fo the finals, Robinson is acutely aware of the need to take ownership for the club’s poor performances last season, and feels that he has walked the walk in making the necessary changes.
“I think you’ve got to own it, I’ll certainly own it. We probably didn’t reach our targets last year; sometimes the hardest things to do in football is to self-review. Once you realise what mistakes have been made or you’ve made, you need to address it” Robinson said when speaking to the media today.
“Last year I didn’t feel the dynamic of the group was right. I had to make some tough decisions, some decision’s I’m sure that some people didn’t agree with, but we haven’t made finals for the last couple of years, so at some stage you have to draw a line under it and move forward.”
Robinson also hit out critics who he perceives choose only to look at the struggles of the last few seasons, rather than the positive progress made.
“There will be the negative people, the glass half-empty people who will focus on the last couple of years where we haven’t done anything.
“I’m fortunate to come in and work here everyday. We’ve got fantastic people behind the scenes who unfairly sometimes get a little bit of criticism. But we’re all responsible, I need every single person possible, man and women at this football club, to all be on the same page. We’re rowing in the right direction, and now we need the supporters to get behind us.”
Robinson has said the whole squad is excited for football to be back after such a long off-season was made even longer by COVID-19 lockdowns.
“[I’m] super excited! It’s been a long pre-season – too long a pre-season, with the COVID situation, but I think the boys are ready. Everyone is ready to get football back on the map over here.
“We’ve got a derby game against our rivals, that’s what the supporters look forward to, it’s what the player’s look forward to, it’s what the football club looks forward to.”
As much as he wants the team to keep their emotions in check, he welcomes the passion a derby game brings.
“We want the action, we want the drama. There’s gonna be missed tackles, there’s gonna be yellow cards, there’s gonna be good refereeing decisions as well as wrong refereeing decisions.
“My players are fit and raring to go. We’ll know our game plan, we’ll know what we need to do both sides of the ball. We’ve got to concentrate on set pieces, for and against. It will be a moment of a player – or a mistake – that will win the game, but what a game to look forward to.”
The team has already tasted competitive action this season, securing a comfortable 3-0 victory in the FFA Cup Round of 32 against Broadmeadow Magic, and Robinson was quick to praise the younger players in the squad.
“I was happy in a lot of phases of play… I think the groups done very well. The young players that played, Badolato who started the game for 60 minutes, Ale (Alessandro) Lopane who came on was exceptional.”
Another man who played last Wednesday was Spanish goalkeeper Tomás Mejías. The signing raised some eyebrows, as the team already had Daniel Margush on their books, who experienced a breakout season last season. Robinson explained the reasoning behind his decision to bolster the ranks.
“We only had one goalkeeper, we have two or three fantastic young goalkeepers’ coming through, but they are probably 12-18 months away from being ready to compete int he first team.
“I searched high and low for an Australian goalkeeper, I couldn’t find one. We had a number of international spots available, so once Tomas was available, it was an easy decision. He’s experienced, his standing in the game – the references I spoke to where top drawer, and he’s a good boy.
“He’ll provide competition for Margs, and competition brings out the best in people.”
Image Source: Western Sydney Wanderers