Records tumble in Western’s worst performance ever

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“The wheels have fallen off” according to Western United coach Mark Rudan, as his team sunk to its lowest low in the A-League after a 6-1 defeat to Melbourne Victory on Friday night.

The five goal margin was the club’s equal biggest loss, with the Wanderers 5-0 defeat earlier this month tying that effort. However, six consecutive losses and seven games without a win are now the unwanted records for the men in green and black.

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Western’s problems were for all to see at AAMI Park, and it all started with a clear lack of pressure on the ball. Victory’s fourth goal to Ben Folami was the final straw for many United fans, as Folami ran up to 50 metres to score the easiest of goals without encountering any hard defence from Western.

Victory have also won zero out of their last seven, including six losses, highlighting just how far United have fallen with Friday night’s performance.

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Rudan was visibly shattered in the post game press conference, telling journalists the side needed “a massive reset”.

“I think we all need to have a good hard look at ourselves,” he said.

“We all have to improve and it starts with me.”

However, Rudan was powerless and likely bewildered as he continuously watched Victory slice his team open with little complexity.

Every Victory goal was a result of a defensive error or lack of pressure on the ball, in what will be the most concerning area for Rudan, who may fear his players have mentally checked out of the season.

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“We really lacked pressure on the ball … defending from a couple of metres away is not good enough at this level,” Rudan said.

“We had more of the ball, but at the end of the day you’ve got to be able to win the ball back.”

Despite the drastic loss, Rudan vowed to stick to his guns and focus on what he believes in in regards to his game plan.

“I’ll take responsibility for [the loss], no problem … but I won’t shy away from what I believe in,” he said.

“I’ll keep believing in what I believe in, the principles are gonna be there and I wont shy away from them… we continue to do the right thing and ultimately it’s up to us coaches to improve for the players.”

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Rudan and his coaching team will need to find a way to motivate the players, as Western have two game to go this season.

Both games are away from home – where Western has typically struggled this season – and two tough losses may result in significant changes at United over the off-season.

Feature image credit: Western United

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Seb Mottram
Sports nut studying Media comms and Marketing at Monash.

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