Duke: Inconsistency cost Wanderers a Finals Series spot
Western Sydney Wanderers captain Mitch Duke says his side weren't good enough for long enough throughout the 2019/20 Hyundai A-League season, resulting in their 'disappointing' omission from the Finals Series.
The Wanderers bowed out of finals contention on Friday night in a way which reflected their season as a whole: falling three goals behind Western United before mounting a scintillating comeback to draw level, only to fade at the death to succumb to a devastating 5-3 defeat.
The result put an end to the Wanderers' faint hopes of a post-season appearance, and Duke pulled no punches in his post-match assessment of the performance produced by the side he captained throughout the season.
" [I'm] devastated to be fair," Duke told FOX Sports post-match.
"I thought there was that brief moment where we had done unbelievably to comeback from 3-0 down.
"And then a different class with [Alessandro] Diamanti and [Max] Burgess, good finishers to be fair and a silly mistake from us which put the nail in the coffin unfortunately.
"No excuses, it’s disappointing for the club.
"We’re back at home at Bankwest [Stadium] and unbelievable facilities we’ve got with us as well.
"It’s just not good enough for a club like us not to make the finals.
"We’re sorry to the fans for not delivering on that part, we were just way too inconsistent this season unfortunately.
"We proved we could mix it with the best with Sydney FC and put in certain performances, but unfortunately not consistent and to be fair I don’t think we deserved it."
It's a disappointing end to a campaign which at times showed much promise after Jean Paul de Marigny replaced former Head Coach Markus Babbel mid-season and made an immediate impact.
Unfortunately for de Marigny - who took over as interim boss in January only to be named permanent manager in July - his impact was not enough to stop the Wanderers drifting toward a bottom-half finish and a third consecutive season without finals football.
As the Wanderers trailed United 3-0 in the second half of their contest on Friday night de Marigny says he never lost faith in his side's ability to come back and win it - a feat they came so close to pulling off.
"I believed when we were 3-0 down we were still a chance," he said.
"We talked about it at half time and we talked about a couple of areas we could have hurt them.
"We started to play our football in the last 15 minutes of the first half, structurally without the ball we started to show discipline and be brave sending the wingbacks across to Diamanti.
"Once we won the ball the space in behind their two sixes was huge.
"With a little bit more composure in the first half, the last fifteen minutes we were a threat.
"They still believed, they did extremely well and i’m so proud of them.
Football... it’s cruel at times.
Understandably deflated, de Marigny and the Wanderers face the unenviable task of dusting themselves off for one last hit-out against Melbourne Victory at Bankwest Stadium on Wednesday, August 12.
De Marigny says his side's final game of the season provides a chance to punctuate the 2019/20 campaign and leave it behind, as he prefers to look ahead to a vital off-season of rebuilding and recruitment which he hopes will get the Red and Black believing in the direction the club is headed.
"Our job now is to get [the fans] excited, with recruitment and signing current players, re-signing them and recruiting exciting players and maybe a possible change of system, depending on the recruitment we have," de Marigny said.
"The last 11 games the players showed that they care, so that’s something we need to build and bring.
"Culture only comes from people - if we bring the right people into the football club they should be excited about it.
Perth Glory v Western United
When: Wednesday, August 12
Where: Bankwest Stadium
Kick-off: 5.35pm (AEST)
- Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne Victory
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