Western Sydney Wanderers head coach Markus Babbel says there will be no excuses if the club doesn’t perform in the Hyundai A-League this season.
Given the state-of-the-art training complex at Rooty Hill, the return to Wanderland and the signing of some key players, Babbel believes the Wanderers have all the ingredients to cast aside the disappointment of the last couple of seasons.
“It is exactly what the club needs, everything is perfect to work with now,” Babbel, now in his second season with the club, told Fox Sports Adam Peacock during a fascinating 45-minute podcast.
“Before we couldn’t do this or that because we didn’t have this and blah, blah, blah ... there was always an excuse.
“But, now it is time to work, it starts with the youth and it starts with us (the seniors).
“We have to bring more (success) than in the past (few seasons) because it wasn’t good enough.
"We have to work on a new mentality because it was not good in the past.”
Babbel could not hide is admiration for the Wanderers board and CEO John Tsatsimas for what they have done in terms of the outstanding training facilities at Rooty Hill.
“We have the luck to have a fantastic board. Paul Lederer, the chairman and the rest of the board, if you see seven years ago to when the club started to now, it is unbelievable what they are doing," said Babbel.
“John (Tsatsimas) our CEO, he lives 24/7 for this club.
“I always have a problem when we lose and I have to look in his eyes because the performance has not been good. These guys are amazing and do everything for this club.
“It was very very important for the club, for the future, to get this because the training facilities were very poor, the pitches were poor, so it was very difficult to train on a high level.
“And to be back at Parramatta, is unbelievable. What a great atmosphere.
“It was tough playing here and there for two or three years, but now our supporters have a home again.”
While the club has done very well with their signings this season, bringing in quality players like Daniel Georgievski, Pirmin Schwegler, Dylan McGowan, Matt Jurman and Daniel Lopar, he reserved some special praise for new striker Alex Meier, who only joined the club in the last fortnight following a whirlwind negotiation process.
The tall German needed just a few days to be convinced to join the Wanderers for what Babbel says “are the right reasons”.
Asked what he expected from the experienced goal scorer, Babbel was straight to the point.
“It would not be a bad start if he could score 20 or 25 goals,” he quipped.
“Definitely he has the quality. He is a great finisher, a big guy but very skilful with great technique.
“I wanted to have a striker that is different to what we have and he is definitely very different. I am not worried about his age.
“This league has showed me that you can have someone who is 36 or 37, look at Diego Castro, and who can perform to a high standard.
“The good thing is that Alex came for the right reasons. He could have stayed in Europe, but he wanted something different, a new challenge.”