They say form goes out the window on derby day and so it proved after Western Sydney Wanderers won their first games in seven outings with a thrilling 3-2 win over bitter rivals Sydney in a pulsating encounter at BankWest Stadium.
In front of a crowd of over 20,000 fans, Bruce Kamau, Mitchell Duke and new signing Scott McDonald all netted among the sea of Red & Black as Carl Robinson’s team out enthused the reigning champions care of an early ambush with two goals in the opening 16 minutes.
“As an advert for football it had absolutely everything, we played Sydney earlier in the season and it was a very good game of football, but it wasn’t like that here,” said a delighted Robinson post game. “It was passionate, it was emotional, there was a little bit of needle and our fans were absolutely amazing and were desperate for us to do well.”
Robinson put the focus on the players after last night’s result, admitting he had to ensure they used the right tactics against one of the league’s top teams.
“Coming into derby week, there is a lot of tactical IQ for managers and we had to find a way to win a game of football.
“We had to be tactically right against a very good team, even when we were right they managed to break us down because they are a good team.
“The boys deserve a lot of credit in there today.”
Robinson also paid tribute to new recruit McDonald, whose 74th minute header from a Graham Dorrans corner, only minutes after coming on gave the Wanderers some breathing space.
He admits the signing was about teaching the younger players how to tough it out during challenging times.
“I wanted a more vocal leader as well. Scottie come in and he is a big voice and a big character.
“The people who you probably hear the most on the training field are me and Kenny.
“We challenge the players every day to try and embrace moments like this. When we are on a difficult run, three draws and three defeats are not great, you find out about people.
“You find out about when the chips are down who wants to stand up and roll their sleeves up. When you are backs against the wall, you find out a lot about your character.”
Robinson, who has remained impressively calm during the Wanderers recent poor run of form, dismissed the idea he was under pressure going into the game.
“No not at all, pressure is not having a job and not being able to live under a roof. I told the players you do something you love and you get paid for it. Don’t let it pass you by.
“I’m a manager of a football team and I need to find ways to win games of football without a doubt. I take responsibility and shoulder the blame.”
Robinson also highlighted the club’s youth policy which bore fruit on one of the biggest stages of all. Thomas Aquilina underlined Robinson’s point, with the 20-year-old putting in a player of the match performance.
“There is a lot of things happening behind the scenes at this football club and we are taking massive strides.
“Some of these young players who played in this derby game today are from our academy and they are dealing with the best team in Australia over the last two years so they deserve a lot of credit.”
Robinson was impressed with his team’s resilience as they withstood a late Sydney FC comeback to hold on for the win, adding the Wanderer’s fans that turned out in numbers helped his team get over the line.
“We wobbled, we bent a little bit but we didn’t break. We found a way to win a derby game.
“This is for the fans, this is for the supporters and we know how much it means to them and they showed it after the game.”