Pressure builds on Wanderers’ Rudan after City thumping

Anna Harrington |

Wanderers coach Marko Rudan watches on during the 7-0 A-League Men thrashing by Melbourne City.
Wanderers coach Marko Rudan watches on during the 7-0 A-League Men thrashing by Melbourne City.

Western Sydney insist under-fire Marko Rudan remains their coach after he failed to front his post-match press conference following the Wanderers’ 7-0 humiliation from Melbourne City.

But after the Wanderers’ heaviest ever defeat, the pressure is escalating on the club and its coach, who is contracted until the end of the 2026-27 campaign but is currently presiding over a season in free-fall.

A Wanderers spokesperson on Tuesday night confirmed Rudan, who only signed a three-year extension in January, remained at his post.

The club’s bizarre official line was that assistant coach Jean-Paul de Marigny attended the press conference because Rudan was in a team meeting.

That didn’t stack up. While press conferences are generally held around 20-30 minutes after full-time, long waits for coaches to arrive are not uncommon.

Rudan had only been back on the touchline for three games after a two-match suspension for his tirade towards referees – and the Wanderers have lost all three, shipping 14 goals.

A hostile de Marigny steadfastly refused to answer questions on why the 48-year-old hadn’t faced the music.

Jean Paul de Marigny
Sent in to face the media, assistant Jean Paul de Marigny was tight-lipped on Marko Rudan’s absence, (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

“”I’ve got no comment about that. I’m here to answer questions about the game,” he said.

“So if you’ve got that, I’ll respond to it. If you don’t have it, I’ll move on.”

The game itself was a disaster for the Wanderers.

Rudan’s charges looked hapless and lacked desperation as City put them to the sword at AAMI Park – with the coach making all five of his substitutes at half-time, when they trailed 4-0.

Former Wanderer Terry Antonis, who was frozen out last season, rubbed salt in the wound when he scored a goal of the season contender then made a beeline for the away bench to celebrate in front of Rudan.

City (29 points) leapfrogged Western Sydney (28) into sixth place, with six rounds left.

De Marigny said there was a “lot of soul searching” happening in the Wanderers’ rooms, but bristled at the suggestion players’ heads had dropped.

“I never mentioned their heads were down,” he said.

“What I said is there’s a lot of people hurting, as you can imagine. Right?

“That’s from top to bottom. Our responsibility is to make sure that we’re ready for the next game and get a good outcome from it.”

Terry Antonis
Terry Antonis (gesturing) enjoyed celebrating his stunning goal against former club Western Sydney. (Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS)

When asked if Wanderers players were still believing, de Marigny said: “Of course.”

Things won’t get easier, with a trip to play Perth on Saturday, just four days after the defeat, next up.

“That’s the beauty about football. There’s the next game with a quick turnaround, which is great,” de Marigny said. 

“It’s an opportunity for us to work on a few things and get better at it and hopefully get a better performance and get the outcome that we’re after. 

“We need to stay positive, we need to stay together in that area. 

“Every game from here we have to have a mentality where we’re fighting to get into finals football.”