Markus Babbel has no regrets about sacrificing Alexander Baumjohann despite the Western Sydney Wanderers going on to lose 3-1 ro rivals Sydney FC.
The Wanderers coach opted to hook his best player after goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic was sent off for inexplicably handling the ball outside his box.
Barely three minutes earlier Baumjohann’s free kick resulted in the opening goal for Oriol Riera, but Babbel said it was a change he had to make.
“Alex is a fantastic footballer and I feel really, really sad for him because he’s one of our best players, but in this moment it’s clear for me we needed legs and we had to defend,” Babbel said.
“Alex is a fantastic player offensive-wise, but defensive is not his biggest strength, so you have to make that decision. I feel very sorry for him”.
The decision left fans bemused, while Sky Blues coach Steve Corica admitted he was surprised to see Baumjohann make way.
“I was quite happy to see him go off the pitch because he a good player,” Corica said.
“He was causing a few problems in behind our midfield and once he took him off that problem gone. I was happy with that”.
Up until the red card the Wanderers looked in control and set to break their derby drought against Sydney, but Babbel was furious with his team’s defending from set pieces, which cost them two goal.
“I’m very angry,” Babbel said.
“We conceded in the second half two set pieces — this for me is not acceptable.
“This is so painful for me because you can defend this. It’s very, very hard to accept”.