Match Preview – “I see the group improving every week” – Garcia

Richard Garcia at pre-Roar presser

Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia is confident that his squad is moving in the right direction ahead of Friday’s showdown with Western Sydney Wanderers (kick-off at 4.05pm WST).


The Bankwest Stadium clash will mark a third consecutive away fixture for the men in purple who were only denied a win against league leaders Central Coast Mariners last weekend by a contentious late penalty.

And Garcia believes that there will be further improvement from his charges on a game by game basis.

“If we hadn’t had the start we did, then people would have said that we’re still a young side and we’re inexperienced,” he said.

“But because we scored a lot of goals to start with, that probably overshadowed the fact that we’re still a new group that is trying to grow and get better.

“I feel we’re on the path to doing that.

“In my mind, I see the group improving every week, growing as a unit and growing off the park as well.

“All the signs are there for them to keep going along this path and eventually get their rewards and it’s just taking it step by step and making sure we improve every week.”

In particular, Garcia is sensing that the club’s new-look defence is starting to gel.

“The [squad’s] mindset to defend hasn’t been as good as it can be,” he said.

“So that’s something that we’ve started to focus on a lot more and make them aware of that.

“I feel that they are now starting to take that on board and think about that part of the game as well.

“A lot of teams are trying to catch us on the counter and at times, we are giving goals away that we probably shouldn’t concede.

“That’s part of us learning as a group.

“It’s not a back four that have been together for a long time and now that we have a lot of games coming up in this season where we’re playing every four days, there are a lot of areas to improve in a short space of time.

“The less training we’re doing, the harder it is to get those things right, hence why we’re doing a lot of video analysis work to try and get those things right in their minds so that they can go and do it on the park.

“Our defensive side is pretty new, whereas when you look at the likes of Bruno [Fornaroli], Cas [Diego Castro] and Andy [Keogh] who have all played together before, then you throw in some of those younger guys, it’s much easier for them to come into that forward line because you have a bunch of guys that have been together for quite a while.

“Defensively, the only players we’ve got who have been in the squad for the last year and a half or two years are [goalkeepers] Tando [Velaphi] and Liam [Reddy], so we’ve virtually got a brand new back four.

“That takes a longer while to come together and we have to be a little bit more patient with that.

“It takes time for them to get their understanding of not only what we want, but how they work together.

“We’ve got grow this defensive line over the next two, three months and we’ve got to make small improvements.

“It’s a process.”

Glory’s defensive resolve will certainly be tested by a Wanderers side currently occupying second spot on the ladder and looking for a third consecutive win and Garcia is expecting a real battle in the Harbour City. 

“They’ve got a fantastic front three who have got a lot of ability, but it’s up to us to focus on how we shut that down,” he said.

“They’re sitting nicely on the table, so it’s another challenge for us to be away from home again and to try and get a result.”

The visitors can take heart from the fact that they have lost only once in their last 12 meetings with Wanderers, winning each of the last three and you have to go back to November 2015 to find the last time Glory failed to score in this fixture.

In terms of squad news, Garcia reported no fresh injuries emanating from the draw against the Mariners, while Western Sydney could be boosted by the return of influential former West Bromwich Albion midfielder, Graham Dorrans.

Match Details

Friday, 19 March 2021

Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Perth Glory

Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta

Kick-Off: 4:05pm (WST)(7:05pm (Local))

Referee: Daniel Elder

Assistant Referee 1: Keraney Robinson

Assistant Referee 2: Andrej Giev

Fourth Official: Stephen Lucas

VAR: Craig Zetter

TV Broadcast:  Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 3:30pm (WST), Sky Sport 7 (New Zealand), Kayo Sports (www.kayosports.com.au) and MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WSWvPER

To purchase tickets visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets

Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 2.Ziggy GORDON, 4.Dylan MCGOWAN, 6.Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS, 7.Bruce KAMAU, 8.Jordan O’DOHERTY, 9.Bernie IBINI, 10.Simon COX, 11.Kwame YEBOAH, 12.Mitchell DUKE, 13.Tate RUSSELL, 14.James TROISI, 17.Keanu BACCUS, 18.Graham DORRANS, 19.Jordon MUTCH, 27.Nicolai MULLER, 29.Daniel WILMERING, 30.Daniel MARGUSH (GK), 33.Mark NATTA, 39.Thomas AQUILINA, 40.Noah JAMES (GK)

Ins: 6.Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS (promoted), 18.Graham DORRANS (returns from injury)

Outs: N/A

Unavailable: 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (long term injury)

Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk),  5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Kosuke OTA, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 10.Andy KEOGH, 13.Luke BODNAR, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Nick SULLIVAN, 17.Diego CASTRO (C), 19.Callum TIMMINS, 18.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 20.Carlo ARMIENTO, 22.Josh RAWLINS, 23.Dane INGHAM, 24.Daniel STYNES, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 38.Ciaran BRAMWELL, 88.Neil KILKENNY

**2-4 to be omitted**

Ins: 6.Osama MALIK (promoted), 22.Josh RAWLINS (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 7.Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 2-3 weeks), 34.Mason TATAFU (ankle – 1-2 weeks)