New year, same frustrations for Western Sydney Wanderers manager Markus Babbel
New year, same old problems for A-League club Western Sydney, with striker Alex Meier short of goals and the club not getting the rub of contentious decisions.
The Wanderers slumped to a sixth defeat in their last eight A-League games, with a 2-1 home loss to Brisbane on New Year's Day.
Coach Markus Babbel said they need to get goal-starved striker Meier more involved, but he was also concerned about costly recurring defensive errors.
The run of contentious decisions against the club that plagued them in the latter stages of 2019 carried into the new year.
A possible penalty call went against his side when the ball flicked off Brisbane captain Tom Aldred's hand late in the first half. No penalty was awarded, leaving Babbel bemused as to what constitutes a handball under the revised rules. Adding to his woes, Brisbane scored their winner when Wanderers were down to 10 men.
Babbel was annoyed the game was stopped on a number of occasions for injured Brisbane players to receive treatment while remaining on the field.
German Meier, who was a regular goalscorer in the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt, has gone 10 games since scoring his only goal for the Wanderers.
He again struggled to make an impact on Wednesday, being replaced after 70 minutes, the fourth time in eight starts he has been substituted.
Babbel noted the 36-year-old 196cm striker dragged defenders with him, leaving space for captain Mitchell Duke to score the Wanderers' goal, but conceded Meier was capable of performing at a higher level.
"We all know he can play better football, it was not an easy game for him, especially alone against three centre-backs," Babbel said. "Very happy with his run for the first goal, it was exactly what I wanted.
"Bring these guys to the near post, the far post, it was a bigger chance for Mitch to score a goal, this happened exactly.
"But we also have to bring him more into the action and situations that he can score a goal.
"At the moment he's too far away and we have to work on it."
Wanderers again conceded from a set-piece and Babbel lamented they were punished for making too many mistakes and lapses of concentration.
"How we concede the goals is always too easy, we're not in the right position," he said. "We have to be more focused over 90 minutes."