As Melbourne City’s stellar strike force loom, Wanderers defender Scott Neville says the red and black must click as a collective when defending following their underwhelming start to the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Season.
Historically so stingy at the back, Wanderers have leaked 13 goals from the opening six rounds.
While it’s not quite panic stations, Wanderers sit seventh on six points, equal with Phoenix in sixth.
However, with Spotless Stadium close to a sellout for the Sydney bow of Tim Cahill, Bruno Fornaroli and Co, Neville is calling for a more collective defensive mindset at Spotless in Harvey Norman Friday Night Football to give the home fans a night to remember.
“Apart from probably the Sydney FC game, when we just capitulated as a team in the second half, every goal has been avoidable — not just as a team but individual errors are killing us,” the right-back told the Daily Telegraph.
“We’re getting punished for things that other teams don’t seem to.”
No other Hyundai A-League side this season [Perth Glory has also let in 13 goals] has conceded more than Tony Popovic’s side and Neville admits it’s “killing” their chances of winning matches consistently.
It’s also a huge concern with free-scoring City and their array of attacking stars heading to Spotless Stadium for Harvey Norman Friday Night Football.
“When a team then scores against us it becomes a big negative for the player who’s made the error. So as a team we have to defend better from front to back.
“That includes putting our chances away, putting pressure on teams and not being vulnerable to counter attacks. As a whole team we need to do the defensive stuff properly,” he said.
Neville is the only member of last season’s back-four still at the club, with skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Scott Jamieson and Alberto Aguilar all now onto new chapters in their careers.
But the ex-Perth and Newcastle defender is adamant new personnel is not the issue, urging the team to get back to the structures that worked so well last season.
“We attack as a team and we defend as a team,” Neville said.
“As fullbacks we get up in the box, we have shots and chances too. So as a collective unit we have to do better in both boxes. In the middle part of the field we’re doing very well and we’re dominating teams.
“But if we don’t score then we’re always vulnerable to the counterattack, and copping goals on the break. We need to take chances and put games to bed when we do take the lead as well.”
“We know the structures that we have to do in every individual role,” he added.
“Everyone just has to do their job, and we have to do better as a back four and a back six a lot better than we have been.”