thumbnail Hello,

Merrick hails determined new Phoenix

The coach of the New Zealand side is proud of the manner his players are approaching each game after notching yet another win at Hunter Stadium

Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has spoken of his side's changed mentality after overcoming the Newcastle Jets 3-2 to move into the top six on the A-League ladder for the first time this season.

The Phoenix out-played the Jets away from home with youngster Jason Hicks scoring the winner after first-half strikes from veteran Carlos Hernandez and Stein Huysegems, to continue their charge up the table.

Merrick said his team's form is the result of a different attitude towards each game, particularly away from home.

"The mentality I am trying to instil in the boys is 'start off scoring goals and in the 93rd minute see if you can score another one'. And that is hitting home,' Merrick said.

"We had two shots and a mis-hit from Stein (Huysegens) from a cross right in front of goal in one minute 40. We had our first shot after just nine seconds.

"It has cost us. The first 10 rounds of the season we drew a few games that we should have probably won and lost a few games that we should have drawn.

"But if we get that mentality right we will score goals and cause problems for any team. The last six games I think we have scored 15 goals. And young Jason Hicks has been threatening to score and on he went and scored. So it is a good attitude."

Jets coach Clayton Zane criticised his players for failing to produce at home as they seek to earn a place in the finals.

"Players get paid good money. Coaches get paid good money and you need to turn up. This is what you are paid to do," he said.

"It is a big lesson to us and it is a hard one to take because this game was very important for us to get on the road to make the six.

"There is still nine matches left, but if we can't get something out of this match, then questions have to be asked of players and staff."

Related