Merrick quits as Wellington Phoenix coach

The veteran manager has ended his stint in New Zealand's capital after the Phoenix dropped to last in the A-League over the weekend

Ernie Merrick has quit as Wellington Phoenix coach after taking "full responsibility" as the club sits bottom of the A-League through nine rounds.

Wellington announced on Monday that the 63-year-old had resigned following the Phoenix's 2-0 loss away to Adelaide United on Sunday.

That loss - the Phoenix's sixth of the season - saw Wellington drop to 10th in the A-League on six points, just behind reigning champions Adelaide and Newcastle Jets on goal difference.

Wellington also announced assistant coach Chris Greenacre and goalkeeping coach Des Buckingham would share head coach duties on an interim basis until a permanent replacement for Merrick is found. 

"I take full responsibility for position the team is currently in," Merrick said in a statement.

"I feel that I have not performed well enough as head coach, as we have a very strong squad that should be higher up the table. 

"It's therefore the right time for me to step aside and allow someone else to take over. We have a run of home games coming up and I think this will give my successor the best opportunity to take the team forward.

"I'd like to thank everyone at Wellington Phoenix for the past three years and particularly [owners] Welnix, the chairman and the board who have been nothing but supportive during this time."

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Merrick has been Wellington's coach since May 2013, with the Scotland-born manager having previously led Melbourne Victory to the A-League double in 2006-07 and 2008-09, while he was also named A-League coach of the year in 2007 and 2010.

After years of limited investment in the Phoenix's squad, the club's owners backed Merrick to bring in high-profile recruits Kosta Barbarouses and Gui Finkler from Victory this season.

Despite assembling a promising squad, Wellington have struggled to get their campaign going.

The Phoenix started the season with four straight defeats before beating Central Coast Mariners and the Jets, but back-to-back losses to Melbourne City and the Reds have seen them slump to bottom in the table.

While Wellington's attacking stocks look impressive, Merrick has failed to get the likes of Barbarouses, Finkler and Roy Krishna to fire together as the Phoenix have scored a competition low six goals so far in 2016-17.