Babbel outlines two ingredients for Wanderers success

Markus Babbel says striking a balance between mentality and fitness will be his first priority as new Western Sydney Wanderers coach.

The German put his charges through an intense morning session earlier today as the Red and Black returned to their Rooty Hill base for the first day of pre-season.

And while the former Bundesliga champion has only been at the helm of the Wanderers for a month, Babbel is already impressed by what he's seen.

“I told the boys before we started training that I saw a couple of games of them [last season], they have talent,” he said.

“The talent is there, but now we have to work on our fitness, on our mentality.

“If these both come together we have a big chance to have success, if not then we have no chance."

The 45-year-old became the third manager in Western Sydney's history when he was announced last month, following AFC Champions League-winning coach Tony Popovic and former Adelaide United man Josep Gombau.

Following the difficulties endured by the club during the transitional era of Gombau, Babbel's stern emphasis on fine-tuning the squad's physical and mental sharpness could signal another shift in direction for the Wanderers.

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The club missed the finals for just the second time in their six-year tenure in the Hyundai A-League, and expectations will be high for Babbel, whose standout managerial achievements are highlighted by achieving Champions League qualification with Stuttgart in 2008/09 and guiding Hertha Berlin into the Bundesliga in 2010/11.

Having already outlined his ambitions to take on a new challenge in Australia, signs so far suggest Babbel could be the man to galvanise the Wanderers into Premiership contenders once again.

But for now, the Western Sydney boss is purely focused on establishing a strong pre-season, and putting a new-look Wanderers squad through their paces.

“I expect us now to come in, to get a feeling for the ball [and] for the pitch.

“It’s normally for the players not the best time because they have to work really hard in twice a day sessions, especially in the afternoon with our conditioning trainer.

‘It’s not easy work but we need good fitness, [it’s] the most important thing, the key of success.

“If you’re not fit you have no chance.”