22/02/2024

Macarthur's Matt Jurman and Western Sydney Wanderers Dylan Pierias met with the media ahead of Sunday's game at Campbelltown Stadium. Photo Credit: Poletti/The Inner Sanctum

Macarthur welcome the Western Sydney Wanderers to Campbelltown Stadium for a Round 15 encounter in what is a must win game for both sides to create separation in the middle of the ladder.

Macarthur have drawn four of their last five games, with a 3-1 victory over Brisbane in that stretch as well.

Their last loss preceded that run of five games, which was a 3-1 defeat to the Wanderers on New Years Day.

Matt Jurman described their run of form as frustrating when he met with media ahead of the game.

“It’s been frustrating, especially since we’ve been so close to winning some of those games,” Jurman said.

“It’s been a bit of concentration late in games where its cost us.

“We think we should be a lot higher on the table if we had won some of those games but we need to forget about now and focus on Sunday.

“It’s a big game for us and we’ve got to win it.”

Macarthur’s defence has been an issue for the squad late in games, having conceded five goals in second half stoppage time domestically, one in first half stoppage time domestically, and one in second half stoppage time in the AFC Cup.

“We’ve had chances in games where we should have finished them off and maybe the result is completely different,” the 34-year-old said.

“But as a team, I think we sort of switch off a little bit.

“I feel like we need to keep the ball better, especially near the end of games where we can kill the game a bit better and have a bit more mongrel in us to finish games off, especially in the last 10 to 15 minutes.”

In addition to a match against the Wanderers and a league fixture against Melbourne Victory, Mile Sterjovski’s side also has an AFC Cup knockout game on February 13 against Malaysian side Sabah FC.

While that is an important fixture, Macarthur are not looking too far ahead, choosing to take it one game at a time.

“There’s an important game on Sunday and that’s what we’re focused on now.”

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While Macarthur have had some defensive issues, the Wanderers have had the best defence in the league by goals against, having only conceded 14 goals in 14 games.

Wanderers forward Dylan Pierias said that was down to the quality players the squad has on defence and discipline.

“We’ve got quality players in the back and obviously Marcelo, absolute legend of the game, he’s so solid,” Pierias said.

“We’ve got a few young players back there but he helps them out and it’s just down to us being disciplined.

“We focus on that, sticking to the structures and just knowing your job and doing your job.”

The Wanderers have named Brandon Borrello in the extended squad for the game, as he looks to return from injury.

If he is named in the squad, Matt Jurman said it will not change the game plan.

“We’ll play the game as normal. Obviously he’s a good player but we don’t look at any individual players.

“We look at them as a team. He’s dangerous but we don’t look into individuals too much.”

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