Late axing: It was a “footbaling decision” to drop Kerem Bulut from the Wanderers squad just hours before kick-off against the Mariners. Photo: Matt KingWestern Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic criticised the training ground performances of striker Kerem Bulut who was surprisingly dropped from the match-day squad that drew with Central Coast Mariners.
Just hours before kick-off on Saturday, the club announced Bulut was removed from the 16-man team sheet after being replaced by Brendon Santalab in the starting line-up and teenager Lachlan Scott was promoted to the substitutes bench.
Popovic denied there were any attitude issues with Bulut, suggesting it was a “footballing decision” to demote the striker after his preparations for the match did not meet the club’s standards.
“We feel we want more in training. He needs to do – not just him but for me they’re in the same bracket, whether it’s Kerem, Shannon [Cole], Bruno [Pinatares], other players that didn’t make the squad. There’s an expectation … they’re training every day and we want more, we want to see more from certain players and Kerem is just in that group.”
The Wanderers were guilty of missing several clear-cut chances in the 1-1 draw at Spotless Stadium on Saturday night but were perhaps fortunate to escape with a point after the Mariners were denied what appeared to be a penalty. Central Coast thought they would have a late chance to clinch an unlikely comeback win when Wanderers defender Jack Clisby handled the ball inside the box, only for the referee to wave play on.
Mariners coach Paul Okon was hesitant to criticise the officials after another tough decision that went against his side.
“Yeah, look, it’s not really important what I think because I don’t have the whistle or the flag to make that judgment, yeah. All I will say is that in the four games we’ve had, some bad decisions have come against us that have cost us points,” Okon said. “They do tell me because I’m an inexperienced coach, they do tell me that over the season it balances itself out so I can’t wait for that.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.