Western Sydney Wanderers defender Tarek Elrich believes his side have the capabilities of returning to the pinnacle of the A-League after a tough few seasons.

Speaking on Breakfast on FNR, Elrich says the message from the hierarchy this off-season is to learn from last season’s disappointment and turn it into success.

“As a player when you sign for the club after the instant success, we had in 2012, it’s important to understand that this club belongs at the top,” Elrich said.

“The last few years have been disappointing for the players, for the fans, for the club as a whole.

“We know that and that’s something we have touched on this pre-season.

“They’ve made it well known this is not a club who deserve to be 8th, 7th or 6th but it needs to be top two every year – where it belongs.”

The 32-year-old also believes that his side’s return to Paramatta this season will help their fortunes as they look to turn Bankwest Stadium into a ‘fortress’ after three years away.

“It’s hard to put into words how exciting it is to be back in Paramatta,” Elrich said.

“There was a massive difference, there is a massive hype around Paramatta, the fans are edging to get back out there and the players can’t wait and we got a taste of it against Leeds,

“We finally have a home and we are happy to turn it into our fortress.”

Elrich will be joined by German import Alexander Meier who joined the club after a storied run in the Bundesliga.

‘The Fussballgott’ (football god) as he is known back in Germany had an interesting first-up encounter with the defender but Elrich believes he is one of the most physically imposing strikers he has ever played with.

“He is very tall,” Elrich said.

“When I first met him, he was standing next to me and I said ‘mate, can you just stand over there? I’m actually feeling really small over here.”

“He’s physically very big, hasn’t played a game in four months but has been working extra hard to get us fit as he can, he’s really good on the ball and very comfortable on the ball.

“When you look at his highlights score a lot of his goals with his head but a lot with his feet too.

“He is probably the first forward I have played with who is so big and so tall.”

The Wanderers commence their A-League campaign against the Central Coast Mariners on Saturday at Bankwest Stadium.

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Nick D’Urbano
nicholas.durbano9@gmail.com