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No WSW panic despite heavy Victory loss

AAP logoAAP 10/12/2016 Emma Kemp

Coach Tony Popovic admits Western Sydney are not in an ideal position on the table more than a third of the way through the A-League season, but insists there's no need to panic just yet.

The Wanderers slumped to a 3-0 loss to Melbourne Victory at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night which, apart from Besart Berisha's hat-trick, again highlighted the final-third issues and individual mistakes that continue to foil this campaign.

After 10 rounds, some promising displays have delivered an undesirable two wins, five draws and three losses.

They are now sixth and are at serious risk of being leap-frogged by Wellington, especially if the Phoenix win their game-in-hand against Victory in January.

Of the team's 13 goals, five belong to super-sub Brendon Santalab, who was uncharacteristically wasteful against Victory and could have had his own hat-trick before halftime.

That striker Kerem Bulut was yet again left out of the matchday squad in favour of inexperienced 19-year-old Lachlan Scott casts further doubt over his future at the club and only increases Popovic's urgent need for a consistent centre-forward.

Goalkeeping issues were also revisited, with dropped No.1 Andrew Redmayne recalled to fill in for suspended second choice Jerrad Tyson and using his return to lay Berisha's first goal on a platter.

"There's not a lot wrong, but obviously we're in a position (that's) not where we want to be and we've got to get better," Popovic said.

"I'm not sure anyone has created that many chances in one football match against Melbourne Victory - clear-cut from six yards out - I doubt that's been seen by them for a while.

"But in the end we didn't take them, so next step is that those clear chances go in."

The midfield is the Wanderers' strength and again the bright spark was Argentine playmaker Nicolas Martinez, whose intelligence and deft touch showed more signs that with added fitness he could become the league's biggest foreign star.

"I'm much happier that we're playing well every week, and if that continues I'm sure we'll finish in a very good place at the end of the season," Popovic said.

"If the performances change, there's no chance of being there at the end when it counts."

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