|By PETE SMITH
Wellington Phoenix interim coach Chris Greenacre has hinted he would be interested in taking the role on a permanent basis, with the New Zealand club turning in two spirited displays since the Englishman assumed the reins from Ricki Herbert.
The 35-year-old, in his first year as assistant after retiring at the end of last season, was thrust into the top job after the sudden departure of Herbert on February 26.
Greenacre was given the role only until the end of the campaign, but asked if he was interested in the job on a full-time basis, suggested he may throw his hat into the ring.
"I'm in charge till the end of the season, that is the agreement," he said.
"I am just focusing on the last two games, but I admit that I've really enjoyed the experience and learnt a lot about myself.
"This season I was just determined to soak up whatever I could as Ricki's assistant because there is no better person to learn from.
"You do get a taste of it and maybe start to want it a bit sooner than you thought, but for now my job is to get the best out of the team for the next two games."
Wellington have displayed character and verve in the two matches since Herbert's departure, beating Melbourne Heart 1-0 last week and succumbing to a hard-fought 2-1 defeat against leaders Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday.
And Greenacre indicated the team have been more purposeful in possession.
"We have prepared for the last two games [Melbourne Heart and Western Sydney Wanderers] in the same way," he said.
"We have said it is about releasing the shackles and letting players getting on the ball and expressing themselves, taking that burden off the shoulders.
"The last two performances have been really encouraging. [The players} should go to Perth now and enjoy playing a good game of football. From a team point of view it will be a case of more of the same."
Though defeat at Parramatta Stadium against the league leaders effectively ended the Phoenix's finals hopes, Greenacre took numerous positives out of the match.
"I said to the players how proud I was of their effort, their endeavour, their will to take the game to Western Sydney," Greenacre said.
"I'm delighted with the performance, just disappointed with the result. I thought we deserved something from the game.
"We have given a couple of penalties away, one could have been avoided. Vinnie [Lia, who gave away the second for handball] has apologised for that and as far as I'm concerned the matter is closed and we move on.
"It was a great atmosphere to play in and a pleasure to play here. We knew it was going to be a hostile atmosphere, but as a professional those are the kind of games you want to play in.
"The way forward for us was to take it to them, and I thought we did.
"We created a couple of opportunities and for large spells I thought we dominated. We will look at the performance and see it as a real positive."