Ian Ferguson has blamed budget cuts for Perth Glory’s fall from grace and admits he could lose his position as coach as a result.
Last season’s grand finalists slumped to their fifth consecutive loss after going down 2-0 to Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Saturday.
Perth have claimed just two points in eight games since their last win on December 21 and remain last on the A-League ladder, four points adrift of the top six.
“When you look at the grand final squad and what we’ve got now, there’s a massive difference with the experienced players,” Ferguson said.
“We had two fighting for every position and we’ve just not got that now because there were huge budget cuts within the club.
“That’s not pointing fingers at everybody else; the club’s got to be sustainable.
“I believe we’ve got 12-14 strong players, but when they’re out missing we’re trying to plug gaps all the time.
“Last year if I didn’t have an Andrezinho, I had a Mile Sterjovski to come in.
“If I didn’t have a Jacob Burns, I had an Adam Hughes. If I didn’t have a (Bas) van den Brink, I had a Josh Mitchell. If I didn’t have a (Shane) Smeltz, I had a Billy Mehmet.
“We’re just not that level again where I was hoping we would be.”
Ferguson said he is determined to see out his contract and believes he has the support of club owner Tony Sage.
“I’m big enough and ugly enough to know that my job is about results and at the end of the day, Tony will make that decision on me,” he said.
“I’ve got another year left on my contract, but if Tony came and patted me on the shoulder tomorrow and said I was fired, there’s nothing I can argue with.
“But he’s been great, he’s stood by me, he can see the football we’ve been playing.
“I don’t think we deserve to be where we are at this moment in time with the football we’ve been playing, but that’s football.
“I love this club; I’m very passionate about what I do.
“I’m hurting at the moment because of where we are and what we achieved last year and to me not to get to the finals this year would just be failure.”
Glory will entertain the league-leading Central Coast Mariners next week in what shapes as a crucial clash for Ferguson’s men.
“It’s basically a cup final for us against the Central Coast Mariners,” Ferguson said.
“It’s going to be a hard week for the boys, but they’ve got to suck it up and get on with it.”