Culture criticism riles Wanderers coach

Western Sydney coach Carl Robinson has rejected criticisms of the A-League club’s culture ahead of a trip to face Newcastle behind closed doors on Boxing Day.

Robinson is feeling the heat following a 2-0 loss to the Central Coast last week, with the Wanderers having just one win to their name to start the season.

The underwhelming start has resulted in former assistant coach Patrick Zwaanswijk and the club’s recently-departed A-League Women coach Dean Heffernan taking aim at the Wanderers’ culture.

Zwaanswijk said the club had “no identity”, while Heffernan said the Wanderers’ set-up was “the most toxic environment I’ve seen in 20 years of football”.

Robinson hit back at those claims and said he was upset to see the pair air their grievances in public.

“The environment I’m working in at the moment, I love it,” he told AAP.

“I love coming to work and do so with a smile on my face.

“My players do too and have a great camaraderie this year (the like of) which I’ve seen at very few other clubs.

“We push each other to our limits and train properly and respect each other.

“I’ve never been one of these people who comment on football clubs when I leave and I never will be.

“My late father taught me that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

“He was a keen gardener and he had two greenhouses and I smashed his windows three times with a football.

“I thought the analogy was fitting and I try to live by that.

“The way I work is if people at the football club have problems they come and see me.

“Last year when I came in Kenny Miller was my assistant and Patrick was a conduit between the first team and the academy.

“At no time did he come to me and have a conversation with me.

“I had very limited time with Dean, but he wasn’t in and around me on a daily basis.”

Former Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Bosnich said the club, which has struggled since Tony Popovic’s departure in 2017, needed to be subject to an independent review given their successive failures to make finals.

But 12 months after taking charge of his first game and overseeing an overhaul of the first team, Robinson remained bullish that things would soon click for his side.

“I don’t know what’s gone before me,” he said.

“I’ve totally revamped the squad and I’m clear with how I want to play and our values as a team.

“I’ve tried to make a difference to the club and we’ve taken big strides.

“I know it comes down to results, but we will continue to play this way and focus on the final third because we are not far away.”

Robinson is hopeful English midfielder Jack Rodwell will feature while Keanu Baccus is in line for his first appearance of the season.