Western Sydney coach Markus Babbel has called for a more professional display from his large off-contract contingent for the final game of the A-League season after a lacklustre performance in a 3-1 loss to wooden spooners Central Coast.
The Mariners were 3-0 up on Saturday night in Gosford after 56 minutes with Matt Simon smashing home a penalty and a free kick, and Kye Rowles heading in his maiden A-League goal.
The Wanderers reduced the deficit when substitute Mark Bridge, in his 250th A-League game, scored from the spot in the 67th minute and Rowles was shown a straight red card four minutes later for a dangerous, lunging challenge on Alexander Baumjohann.
The visitors, already assured of finishing eighth, showed some fight late but were largely outplayed and by the more enthusiastic Mariners.
Babbel said Central Coast were tactically better and had more energy and aggression as they claimed a deserved win.
Coming off a 1-1 draw in the Sydney derby last week, Babbel struggled to pinpoint the reason for the Wanderers' lack of intensity against the Mariners.
"Sometimes it's difficult to explain why because last week we played a fantastic game, everything was there what it needs to get a result, but today I couldn't see it," Babbel said.
However, when asked what part mentality played in the performance, the German indicated the likely mass changes at the club could be a factor.
"To be fair I was thinking it starts a bit earlier, because, of course, we have to change something," he said.
"I was talking to players, and yeah, that they are not staying with us, that they don't get a new contract and so I was thinking it starts earlier, and there was a game now.
"I hope the last game we can bring our performance again, and they have to know they are professionals, they earn good money here.
"Especially our supporters, they expect something. Today was just not good enough."
Asked what the club have to do to be competitive next season, Babbel said: "We have to do a lot.
"Most of the players, they are two years here now and we finish seven, eight, so we have to change something if you want to come to the big talks.
"We have to bring quality and especially mentality in."
Wanderers finish the season at home against Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
Australian Associated Press