Football 3 years ago

Wanderers could turn to Alberto

  • Wanderers could turn to Alberto

Can Alberto solve the Western Sydney Wanderers' defensive woes?

That's the question coach Tony Popovic will consider in the aftermath of their heavy 3-1 defeat to Brisbane in the season-opener on Thursday.

It is the third straight game in which Popovic's defence conceded three goals against a rival A-League outfit, not including their FFA Cup campaign.

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The Wanderers also gave up three goals to Central Coast and Wellington in the pre-season.

Never before in the club's short history has Popovic's backline given up as many goals in as many games.

And while the former Socceroos centre-back is renowned for giving his men second chances, he now has the option of bringing in a centre-back who spent three years with Spanish giant Getafe.

Alberto missed the Roar clash after rolling his ankle during training last week, and was limited to light duties when the team returned to training on Monday.

However should the 31-year-old be fit to play, he could prove to be a significant piece for the rebuilding club.

Asked about Popovic's response to their defensive frailties, defender Scott Neville said: "Poppa's definitely not happy with it, along with all the players."

"It's something that we're going to work hard on not just this week, but coming weeks to make sure those kind of goals don't get conceded on a regular basis," he said.

The Wanderers conceded their first goal from a horrific turnover deep in their own territory, before giving up two more on set pieces.

"Defensively from corners, it's a team thing," Neville said.

"It's something we need to be stronger at and everyone needs to put their head where it hurts. We'll take a look at set pieces and make sure that those type of mistakes don't happen."

Teammate Mitch Nichols, who scored the Wanderers' only goal, said Alberto had the pedigree to make a substantial impact in defence but argued that the current centre-back combination of Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Brendan Hamill deserved another shot.

"Obviously (Alberto has) got a lot of experience playing over in Spain, but we've got (Hamill) and Topa and they're very experienced as well. Whoever plays will do the job."

Alberto is one of three Spaniards recruited to the club over the winter, as Popovic looks to implement a more possession-based style this season.

The Wanderers' next clash is against competition heavyweights Adelaide on Friday night.

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