Wanderers players take blame for ‘unacceptable’ display says Duke

Captain Mitchell Duke says Western Sydney Wanderers players should shoulder the blame for their woeful form after they fell to a 2-0 defeat against Wellington Phoenix.

Markus Babbel’s side have only won one of their last 10 Hyundai A-League matches after starting the season with three straight wins, and high-flying Phoenix were the latest side to put Wanderers to the sword on Saturday.

Mexican star Ulises Davila put the in-form Kiwi club ahead at Sky Stadium and, after the Red and Black spurned chances to equalise, Liberato Cacace had the final word in the 2-0 home win.

Duke came close twice to scoring before the interval, one strike whistled wide of the Phoenix post and then other was stopped by goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, while Nicolai Müller and substitute Kosta Grozos failed to make Western Sydney’s pressure pay as the visitors chased the game.

The desperate run of results has put Wanderers’ hopes of ending a two-year Final Series absence on life support and Duke could not hide his frustration after the full-time whistle.

“It’s been the story of our season so far,” Duke admitted.

“Bottom of the line: it’s unacceptable.”

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“We’re going to take full blame. We’re not doing a good enough job.

“We need to finish our chances. When we’re on good form during the game, we need to take it.

“We’re getting punished so we’ve got to do better all around unfortunately.”

Duke insists Babbel’s side have the ability to deliver better performances than Hyundai A-League viewers have witness over the past months. 

But the 28-year-old is finding it hard to explain why he and his Western Sydney teammates cannot produce the performances that he believes they are capable of.

“I’m trying to tell the boys: be confident, back your ability,” Duke said.

“They’ve got the quality to do it and at the moment I feel like it’s just not happening.

“The boys aren’t believing in themselves and it’s showing on the pitch. 

“We’re getting some decent chances and we need to punish these. 

“At the moment, we’re just finding ways to lose.”

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Wanderers host one of the Hyundai A-League’s in-form sides, Perth Glory, at Bankwest Stadium next Sunday and Duke has demanded better from himself and his teammates.

“We’ve just got to take it game by game and overall, lift our performances,” Duke said. 

“For a big club like Wanderers it’s not good enough.

“We’ve got a history of top success so we’ve got to step it up all around.”

Wanderers' shot map in the 2-0 defeat at Wellington Phoenix

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Round 15

Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix
Saturday, 18 January 2020
Suncorp Stadium
Kick off: 4pm local, 5pm AEDT

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Match centre

Western Sydney Wanderers v Perth Glory
Sunday, 19 January 2020
Bankwest Stadium
Kick off: 6.30pm AEDT

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Match centre