Reds defended like clowns – Verbeek
Adelaide United coach Gertjan Verbeek compared the Reds' defending to classic slapstick comedy following their 5-2 loss against Western Sydney Wanderers.
The Dutch chief listed some world-famous funnymen when reviewing the performance of his defensive unit in the humbling loss at Bankwest Stadium.
The away side led 2-1 midway through the opening stanza through Riley McGreen’s penalty and Ben Halloran’s effort, but slipped 4-2 behind at half-time in a wide-open match on Friday night.
Simon Cox’s second-half strike wrapped up the win for Wanderers, after Pirmin Schwegler, Nicolai Müller and Mitchell Duke’s double had earned the Red and Black the advantage at the interval in Parramatta.
“I grew up with Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Chaplin and the Comedy Capers, and this was the Comedy Capers – the way we defended,” Verbeek said.
“Also, the opponent gave a lot of space away and we used that very well so the problem was not when we had the ball.
“We got a lot of chances and had two goals and were still leading 2-1, but then you make mistakes and it could almost be 4-4, 5-5 at half-time.
“That’s what you mean by entertainment? But as a trainer you are not happy with the way we defended.”
For Western Sydney it was a case of Christmas coming late, according to Verbeek, who told his charges at half-time to stop handing out gift-wrapped presents.
“I said we still can win the game but we have to stop playing [like] Santa Claus,” he said.
“Santa has already been in December. It is now February.”
“I think we don’t change anything, but just have to do it better.
“It was a little bit better second half, and they worked hard and they tried to make the third goal and you never know. We didn’t success but the chances were there.”
When asked if his players came through the match unscathed, Verbeek added: “In the mind, I don’t know. But in the body, I didn’t have any complain about injuries.”
Despite Western Sydney’s defensive frailties, Wanderers interim coach Jean Paul de Marigny insists his team carried out the game plan perfectly.
“It’s a work in process and I really enjoyed watching them – with the ball and without the ball,” de Marigny said.
“They were very aggressive in their mind set and I’m so proud of them. It was great to watch them execute everything.”
The victory lifts Wanderers to eighth position on the ladder, level on points with seventh-placed Western United and four points off the Finals Series spots, and de Marigny held special praise for the way the home side responded after falling 2-1 behind on 22 minutes.
“The reaction to the set-back was really positive,” he added.
“They kept on believing, they were positive, they continued to aggressive without the ball and with the ball. So that was really pleasing.”
Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Friday, 28 February
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 8pm AEDT
Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United
Saturday, 29 February
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT