Hours after Melbourne Victory parted ways with Marco Kurz on Wednesday, ‘Babbel’ became a trending topic on Twitter in Australia as A-League fans openly questioned how Kurz and ex-Newcastle Jets boss Ernie Merrick had been axed before him.
With two clubs in the market for coaches, it may put more pressure on Wanderers chairman Paul Lederer to act fast if the team’s horror run under Babbel continues.
Western Sydney have lost six of their past eight matches, and are rank outsiders on Sunday for the visit of Tony Popovic’s in-form Perth Glory, who have won five games straight and conceded just two goals in that time.
Lopar has an affinity for Babbel, having first attracted his attention while playing against his teams in the Swiss top division, and said he was more than satisfied with life under the former Liverpool and Bayern Munich defender.
“In my opinion, he’s doing a good job, I’m very happy with the staff we have,” Lopar said.
“But in the end, the players on the pitch decide and we have to bring the performances. They give us the instruments for the game but it’s us on the pitch who have to make the difference against the other teams.
“Of course, we have to win for him. But we not only have to win for him – the club is a big institution, we have to win for the fans and for the owner as well. It’s not a one-man show. Nobody likes to lose and we have to turn things around because this situation is not acceptable.”
Asked if he thought another defeat could spell the end for Babbel, Lopar said: “That’s not a question I want to answer. I’m focused on my work on the pitch, that is what I can influence. The rest, we will see. But I’ll give everything for him and for the Wanderers.”
Lopar is doing his bit for the Western Sydney cause, having made 42 saves this season – tied for third in the competition, although he quietly wishes the team didn’t depend on his heroics so often. He said it was an easy decision to re-sign for the club, with his family having settled into Sydney life.
“I love the professional environment I have here. I can train every day at a good, high level,” he said. “The facilities are great, in comparison to Europe. I like working with my goalkeeper coach [Davide Del Giovine], he’s helped me a lot to adapt to the league, he’s a big help for me to bring me to this level.
“I hope things will change and we go back on track. We’ve talked a lot, the last weeks, and I think there’s something going on in the team in a better way. And I hope, as well, I don’t have so much work to do.”
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.