Gombau laments missed chances against Phoenix

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Josep Gombau bemoaned his side’s inability to seize opportunities after surrendering the lead against Wellington Phoenix to settle for a 1-1 draw on Saturday night.

While the Wanderers remain undefeated in their four games in 2018, a lack of clinical finishing in front of goal in the first half has cost them four points in their past two games. It was the second time in as many matches Western Sydney settled for a point from a winning position and it’s becoming a point of frustration for the Spaniard.

“It’s a result we need to keep when we’re winning 1-0 but I think it’s fair,” Gombau said.

“In the last two games we had the chance to win games but we didn’t take it so it’s something we need to improve.”

An improved mentality and a stronger showing in their recent fixtures provided some confidence for a team that’s in the process of changing its style.

Brendon Santalab opened the scoring, firing home a half-volley midway through the first half before a wonder goal from Wellington Phoenix forward Matija Lujic squared the ledger.

The hosts should have sealed a comeback in injury time with a late counter-attack while the Wanderers endured another slump late in the match. Western Sydney have scored just once in the last 30 minutes of games, the fewest of any team in the league. Gombau denied their poor finishes to games was a fitness issue.

“No, I don’t think so, really it’s true we’re not scoring at the end of the games. I don’t think it’s a physical reason, sometimes in football it’s just like this. The good thing is we are scoring and the good thing is we have the chance to score more,” he said.

While frustrated the Wanderers couldn’t return across the Tasman with all three points, Gombau was pleased by the growing confidence within the squad. Two wins and two draws since their 4-0 drubbing by Newcastle Jets has boosted the morale of the team and Gombau says that is largely down to the attitude of the players rather than any tactical adjustment.

“It’s more the mentality of the players. In the very beginning when I [arrived] it was difficult because every time there is a big change, a change of coach like this, it’s difficult for the players. But they changed their mentality, they are open and I am so happy with them,” he said.