March 09, 2015 09:36:03 UK
Tony Popovic says the physical demands of competing on two fronts is taking a toll on Western Sydney Wanderers’ players.
The club’s success in winning the Asian Champions League last year had a massive detrimental effect on their form in the A-League, where after Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Brisbane Roar they remain bottom of the table.
Wanderers are 3.50 to win their next game against Melbourne City, who are 2.05 with the draw 3.40.
We’ve got a lot of players now that are unfortunately long-term injuries – we’ve got five, possibly another one after tonight. And physically I think we’re struggling.
A record of one win in 18 league matches illustrates just how exacting their schedule has been, with the club now two games into the 2015 ACL campaign while they stagger through to the end of the domestic competition.
Their 12th defeat of the A-League campaign left them with another addition to their injury list, with Mark Bridge facing several weeks out with a strain.
“We believe it’s an abdominal or groin, we’re not sure, it’s in that area,” said Popovic. “It doesn’t look good, but hopefully after scans it won’t be serious.”
The Wanderers coach added: “We’ve got a lot of players now that are unfortunately long-term injuries – we’ve got five, possibly another one after tonight. And physically I think we’re struggling.
“The effort’s there, the commitment’s there but we’re just not quite at the level that we want to be.”
Western Sydney played 14 matches in last year’s Asian Champions League and ended the year by playing in the Club World Cup in Morocco.
Barely two months after returning from that tournament, they are back in ACL action with a win and a defeat from their first two group games.
The clash with Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium came just four days after they took on Guangzhou Evergrande, but given that the Roar had made a midweek trip to Japan to take on Urawa Red Diamonds they could not offer it as an excuse.
Brandon Borrello scored the only goal of the game eight minutes into the second half, though Wanderers were unlucky to see Tomi Juric’s injury-time shot bounce down on the goal line after hitting the underside of the crossbar.
Western Sydney are 5.00 to beat Melbourne City by a one-goal margin.
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