Markus Babbel says the Wanderers will be strengthened by the return of influential midfielder Pirmin Schwegler in tomorrow’s clash against Wellington Phoenix at Sky Stadium.
Catch the match live on FOX SPORTS 5:05 from 2:45pm.
Schwegler missed the Wanderers 2-1 loss to Brisbane Roar last week after serving an automatic one-week suspension for his accumulation of yellow cards.
The former Swiss international has arguably been the Red & Black’s best performer this season and his absence last week was telling, although replacement Patrick Ziegler produced an outstanding performance filling in as defensive midfielder.
“It is good news for us that Pirmin is back because he is a very important player,” Babbel told the media yesterday.
“But, no matter… there are no excuses for me for last week because Patrick Ziegler, in my eyes, was the best player on the pitch.”
The team’s lapses in concentration have cost the Red & Black valuable points with Babbel calling on his team to stay focused and cut out any mistakes.
“As a team, we have to be more focussed and more concentrated for a longer period of time,” explained Babbel.
“At the moment, we play 10 minutes well, then 10 minutes not so well. We have to follow our game plan longer.
“We have to get better in front of goal and defend better. We have to do it better because we are playing against a side (Wellington) that hasn’t lost for eight games and is full of confidence.
“I don’t know why we are not doing it, but we have to come through.
“This (staying focussed) is the only chance to get a result because if you see all the games (in the Hyundai A-League), many are 50-50.
“If we follow the structure for 90 minutes and keep doing that then we will have success.”
While respectful to the opposition, Babbel said all concentration was on his own team rather than the Kiwis.
The Red & Black are just outside the six with 14 points and a win against Wellington could see them jump into the Top Six by the end of the weekend.
“To be fair, we are just looking at ourselves,” Babbel replied when asked how he will be looking to combat Phoenix.
“This is about us and how to bring the boys focussed for a longer period.
“We have quality, we have individual quality. If we can bring this together as a team then we are strong.
“All the time we get a result if we stay focussed and concentrated for a longer period and this is the challenge for Saturday.”