Babbel: no relegation means the pressure is off

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Markus Babbel believes a lack of promotion and relegation in Australian football creates a far more relaxed atmosphere than what he experienced in Europe.

It was seven years ago this week the former Liverpool fullback was relieved of his coaching duties at Bundesliga club Hoffenheim after a five game winless run left the club in 16th, on the verge of a relegation dogfight.

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This A-League season the former German international led Western Sydney Wanderers to an impressive start of three straight wins before their form evaporated and they embarked on a streak of four matches without victory.

When questioned as to whether he was beginning to feel the heat Babbel touched on his considerable experience to provide an intriguing response.

“The good thing in Australia is that in the end, nothing can happen,” he said.

“The team can’t go down in the second division, so trust me this is psychologically much easier than if you play in Europe.

“Over there if a club goes down in the second division or if someone people in the office are losing their job because you didn’t do a good job – this is pressure.”

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Despite no imminent threat of relegation looming, which also fails to consider the fact the Wanderers remain in fourth position, Babbel admits that his side gathering one point out of a possible 12 points is unacceptable.

“Here it is a bit easier, but it doesn’t mean we don’t care,” he said.

“We and everyone at the club wants to have success.”

Recent results have given rise to initial rumours that if Western Sydney’s slump is to endure the German’s long term job security may be in jeopardy.

While not addressing the talks directly, Babbel is well aware the best means of silencing the critics is for the Red and Black to return to winning ways.

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“It’s only up to us to turn this around…we must work hard, stay disciplined, stay in the structure but also be brave,” he said.

“Do whatever you have to do in your position and you will see it will change.

“We have enough experienced players in the team to stick together a bit more and spend a little bit more time on the little details.

“Only we can put the critics away if we start getting results.”

Babbel and the Wanderers will be eager to reverse their fortunes when they travel across the ditch to face a resurgent Wellington Phoenix side at Eden Park on Saturday.

Feature image credit: Steve Christo

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Chris Curulli
Chris Curulli
Passionate Sports Media student and all round football obsessive, covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2019/20 season.

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