‘It’s unacceptable’: Duke shattered as Wanderers blow finals quest
Western Sydney Wanderers skipper Mitch Duke admits his side’s performance in the loss to Perth Glory was “unacceptable” as they saw their Hyundai A-League finals hopes take a hammer blow.
Needing a win to keep in the race for the top six, the Wanderers were outclassed and outfought by Glory in their 3-1 defeat at Bankwest Stadium.
It’s left the Red and Black needing a minor miracle if they want to reach the Finals Series in 2019/20.
Not only do they need to win their final two games against Western United FC and Melbourne Victory, they’ll need a few other results to go their way also.
“It was a very frustrating tonight. We just couldn’t find our rhythm,” Duke told Fox Sports.
“A lot of us weren’t on the same page and I don’t think we played like we wanted it enough.
“We can’t accept performances like that in desperate times.
“We clawed ourselves back into 1-1 and for us to give it away and lose 3-1 is unacceptable and not good enough.”
After a dour first-half, Glory took the lead on the hour mark through Ivan Franjic before Duke hit back soon after with his 12th goal of the campaign.
But the Wanderers couldn’t go on with it, conceding twice in the last 13 minutes to slump to just their second defeat in 10 games under new boss Jean-Paul de Marigny.
“That’s the most frustrating part. We could have got a result tonight and not have to rely on other teams results,” Duke said.
“We would almost be in the driving seat, the opportunity was there.
“Now it’s just a reaction to finish the last two games strong and hope for the best.”
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Duke admitted he would even start cheering for Sydney FC – who still have to play their finals rivals Adelaide and Western United FC – if it helped them reach the top six.
“When the results are out of your hands you have to support the other teams now,” he said.
While it was disappointment for the Wanderers, it was a sense of relief for Perth who have now almost assured themselves of a finals berth.
It was also just the tonic for the side after back-to-back defeats, including their 5-3 shellacking at the hands of Adelaide United last Thursday.
“We had a meeting afterwards because there was a few heads down,” admitted James Meredith, who got the match-sealing third goal for Glory.
“A lot of players weren’t feeling to good and [coach Tony Popovic] just filled us with that confidence to keep going.
“[He said] we had to stick to our plan and our tactics, work hard in training and we’ll get there in the end.”
Neil Kilkenny, who scored from the penalty spot in the second half, added: “We were disappointed last game and we knew we needed a reaction and I think we got it tonight.
“We’re really looking forward to the next couple of games. We’re here [in Sydney] and hopefully we’re here for the long haul.”
Glory is next in action on Saturday when they take on Melbourne Victory at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, kicking off at 5pm AEST.
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