Markus Babbel admits his young Western Sydney players are struggling with the heavy workload through the middle of the A-League season, after the Wanderers slumped to a club-record five straight defeat.
The Wanderers had seven players unavailable through a mix of injuries, suspensions and national duties for their 2-1 loss to Adelaide United on Friday night, with five of the team aged 20 or under.
Adding to their problems has been a taxing schedule, with trips to Adelaide and Perth part of a gruelling run of six games in 24 days.
Babbel's men were also clearly struggling with Sydney's high temperatures on Friday night, and have just a four-day turnaround for Tuesday night's road game with Melbourne City.
"Many players have never had this experience before," Babbel said.
"This is the biggest problem we have had. Many players have never had five games in a row, now they are playing 10 or 12 or 13.
"Normally we have to change, but I can't. I don't have the players. This is a big problem."
Babbel won't get any of his experienced players back for Tuesday's clash, but he can at least see a long-term upside for a team who are now 13 points out of the finals.
"This is the star in the air to see the young guys doing well," Babbel said.
"When I came my stomach wasn't the best in this time, but now after seven months they are learning, they are hard-working and they can show it on the pitch.
"I am very happy with the young guys, they are going in the right way."
Australian Associated Press