Carl Robinson says the blame for Western Sydney’s stuttering start to the A-League Men season lays at his door after his side were booed off following a 2-0 defeat to Macarthur FC.
A second-half finish from defender Tomislav Uskok broke the deadlock after an hour of play before substitute Jake Hollman netted in the 74th minute to seal victory for Ante Milicic’s table-topping side.
Robinson lost in the FFA Cup to NPL side APIA Leichhardt on Tuesday with a rotated team, but the nature of the defeat to Macarthur will have done nothing to silence his detractors.
The Wanderers were shorn of creativity and despite having 65 per cent of the ball, did little to excite the crowd of 8910 at Commbank Stadium.
“Don’t blame the players, if you want to blame anyone blame me,” said Robinson, who was without Jack Rodwell and Tomer Hemed after they picked up knocks in the Wanderers’ unconvincing win over Wellington last week.
“I’m thick skinned enough and I know football is a results-driven business.
“The one thing people can’t criticise is my work ethic or my will to win. I will try and do that as much as I can.
“I will continue to work with the players and they have my backing and they will drown out the noise.”
The Bulls sat deep and invited Western Sydney to attack for much of the opening hour, but the home side were unable to engineer a breakthrough with Bernie Ibini leading the line in Hemed’s absence.
They snatched at chances and they would come to rue their missed opportunities when Daniel de Silva was found in space on the Macarthur left in the 64th minute.
His cross was flicked on by Lachlan Rose and, after his first attempt was parried by Wanderers goalkeeper Tomas Mejias, Uskok hammered home on the second time of asking to put the Bulls ahead.
It was a smash and grab effort from Macarthur, but they extended their lead when Rose again linked with De Silva on the counter.
A backheel from the striker found De Silva who played Hollman in on goal, with the substitute cooly finishing past Mejias to ensure Macarthur’s unbeaten start to the season remains intact.
“It’s very important for us especially with the change of personnel we’ve had through pre-season,” said Milicic, whose side still haven’t conceded from open play.
“We defended well when we needed to and that laid a good solid foundation for us.
“We go home delighted and the clean sheet was a major focus for the playing group.
“Tonight was always going to be a difficult game for us. We had three games in six days and (a group of) players up in the grandstand.
“It’s a good start for us, but the desire has been excellent from the boys with the amount of games we had in a short space of time.”