Head coach Markus Babbel is confident his new-look team can break the Sydney Derby hoodoo and “put a smile back on the faces” of the Western Sydney Wanderers faithful at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night.
With a huge crowd for the first Sydney Derby of the season and the first at the new Wanderland, expectations are high for a glorious, emotional and high powered occasion that will burst the Hyundai A-League into life.
Coming off back-to-back wins in the opening two games of the season, the Red & Black will go into the game with their best chance of grabbing their first win against their cross-town rivals for some time.
Babbel was quizzed intently by the media today on the club’s recent record in the Derby. While acknowledging the Derbies importance, especially for the fans, he stressed it is “a normal game” and that there are three competition points to be earned.
“For me, it’s a normal game, the chance to get three points and this is what we try to get … it doesn’t matter against who,” said Babbel.
“We won twice (to start the season), now, so we want to win three times.
“Of course, we know it is a Derby and we play for our supporters and we want to give them a smile at the end of the game … we can give something back (to them) for (what has happened) in the last few years. This is our job.
“Also, for me as a coach, it is the three points. If you win a Derby you don’t get six points, it’s still three. We have the chance to get three points and the supporters will be sure we give all we have on the pitch to do that.”
SMELLS LIKE TEAM SPIRIT
Babbel cast aside the previous Derby results, suggesting the Wanderers had been a chance in most of them but mistakes had cost the team dearly at times, and that he now has a different team.
“All the Derbies (while he has been in charge), Sydney were not much better team than us, but we always find a way to lose,” said Babbel.
“A couple of times we dominated the games, we created chances but couldn’t score then we did unbelievable mistakes to lose.
“I hope now we have learned from these easy mistakes we did, and to be fair, we have a different team now.
“Last year the quality was not this high, the spirit is different and it makes me much more comfortable to look forward to this game.
“We just need to be switched on from the first minute on Saturday. If we bring our performance on the pitch then I am optimistic we will get a (good) result.”