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Monday, 11 December 2017 01:00 pm

Phoenix coach laments letting home games slip after taking control

Dec 6th, 2017 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Wellington Phoenix faced off against Melbourne Victory at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Sunday evening.

Two quick-fire goals were not enough to save the Wellington Phoenix on Sunday night.

The 2-3 loss to Melbourne Victory followed a strong first half in which Phoenix striker Andrija Kaludjerovic scored.

The Phoenix finished the first half with a 2-0 lead, before Victory over-ran them.

The Phoenix’s loss puts them at the bottom of the A-League table. They will now leave for two away fixtures against Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory.

It was nil-all in the first 20 minutes of the game, during which a Victory goal from forward Besart Berisha was disallowed after he was caught offside.

Coach Darije Kalezić said he urged the players after the game to ‘be winners’.

“Players are really emotional in the changing room, but my job is not to be emotional, but to analyse,” said Kalezić.

“We lead this game again – like many games at home – comfortably [at] 2-0. We controlled the game in the first half, it was a nice game, an open game. So I am satisfied with the first half, and how we performed.”

“If the team [falls] behind, 1-zero, 2-zero, 3-zero every game, then you can make conclusion, very simple, that we are not good enough. But most of the games we lead very comfortably [in Wellington], so we are good enough.”

Kalezić says he was happy with the team tactically, citing its initial 2-0 lead and its possession during the game, but conceded there were some technical things on the field going wrong.

“When we win the ball possession, and we travel with the ball, our lines don’t push up fast enough, which you need to do in the A-league.

“We put a lot of attention on that in the training. There is no one here who can say we don’t train that or we don’t put attention on that.”

Kalezić says his job now is to help the Phoenix to a better future.

“We are here for [the] Phoenix. I am not here for myself. I am here for the club, and the club is in the first place, not me.”

A crowd of 5765 people turned out to watch the game.

Dale Warburton, spokesperson for Wellington Phoenix fan club Yellow Fever, said it was a hard game to summarise.

“It was quite entertaining, I guess, on most fronts. We were a little bit lucky to survive early on, and somehow managed to eke out a couple of goals.

“What seemed to be a recurring theme this season, we sort of gave it away in the second half.”

Warburton said keeping possession was an issue for the Phoenix, who also struggled to get their passing game going.

“When you keep possession you tend to limit the chances that the oppositions have but I think the last two games we’ve only had about 40 percent of possession and we kind of really struggled to keep hold of the ball.

“If you keep coughing up the ball in mid-field or in a defensive third, then you put yourselves on the back foot quite quickly and that’s kind of where goals tend to come from, is soon after you’ve lost possession.”

Mr Warburton says he thought the team would be disappointed by the result, in a game where Victory had around 12 shots at the goal.

“You don’t tend to win too many games when you give out those kind of chances to the opposition.”

The season had been a hard one to summarise, he says.

“We’re kind of tracking OK, we’re creating good chances and we’re taking those chances.”

“It’s been a bit of a struggle so far, but there’s some quality players in there and it’s just a matter of trying to get them all firing at once.

“There’s still two-thirds of the season to go so it’s not by any stretch, you know, writing the season off just yet.”

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