Wanderers sack Babbel after A-League loss

Markus Babbel coached Western Sydney to just 10 wins in 41 A-League matches.
Markus Babbel coached Western Sydney to just 10 wins in 41 A-League matches.

Western Sydney have pulled the trigger on under-fire coach Markus Babbel, axing the German midway through his three-year contract.

It comes in the wake of Sunday night's 1-0 A-League loss to an under-strength Perth Glory at Bankwest Stadium.

The former Liverpool defender becomes the third A-League coach to be sacked this season after Ernie Merrick at Newcastle and Marco Kurz at Melbourne Victory.

"It is unfortunate that we have needed to take this course of action because we have a great relationship with Markus," Wanderers chairman Paul Lederer said in a statement.

"However we firmly believe that we have a great squad and the results are most definitely not reflective of the ability of the players at this club and certainly do not reflect the aspirations of the Western Sydney Wanderers Football Club.

"We have total faith in the group of players here at the Wanderers and look forward to pushing on with renewed vigour towards the finals series."

Pressure had been building on Babbel for several months, with the Wanderers winning just four games so far this season, and just 10 in total from his 41 games in charge.

There were high expectations for the team this season with new training facilities and a move into the state-of-the-art Bankwest Stadium.

However, the Wanderers remain ninth on the ladder, four points out of the top six after 14 games, with little signs of improvement.

Babbel has consistently denied feeling anything but support from the club, and when asked if Sunday night was his final game in charge of the Wanderers, he said: "Don't worry, I'm a fighter."

However, following the announcement on Monday morning, Babbel recorded a video message shared by the club, dismissing speculation there had been a rift in the coaching staff.

He also paid tribute to the 'amazing' Wanderers fans and encouraged them to stick by the club, saying the past two years had been the best time of his life.

"It was a pleasure from the first day until the end. You do an amazing job, you support the team and you have to understand this is still a young club, there's a lot of improvement what the club has to go but support them," he said to fans.

"The club is top and especially you are top because you make this club special. I enjoyed every single home game because you were amazing and keep going with it, because I still believe this team can do something special but they need the 12th man.

"The team has the quality to beat every single team in this division but they need your help. From my side thank you so much for everything ... I will miss you."

With a bye this weekend, it was expected the club would wait for the return of chairman Lederer from an overseas trip to make the call, but acted swiftly given the backlash from Sunday night's loss to Glory.

NewsCorp reports the entire coaching staff were called to an emergency meeting at the club's training ground on Monday morning to discuss the decision.

There is now two weeks before the Wanderers face Central Coast in Gosford on February 2, with assistant Jean-Paul de Marigny taking over as caretaker coach, assisted by former player Labinot Haliti.

Australian Associated Press