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Revealed: Finkler opens up on incident with Darije Kalezic that led to his Phoenix exit

4:32 am AEDT 10/3/18
Gui Finkler Wellington Phoenix
EXCLUSIVE: The playmaker speaks for the first time about about his premature departure from Wellington at the hands of now axed-coach Darije Kalezic

Former Wellington Phoenix midfielder Gui Finkler's time in the A-League would come to an unceremonious end late last year when now departed Nix coach Darije Kalezic's actions during a game saw the Brazilian leave the stadium before full-time.

Finkler was one of the first casualties of Kalezic's short reign at Wellington which saw assistant coach Rado Vidosic and his son Dario too depart in less than civil circumstances.

With Kalezic now also leaving the Phoenix behind, Finkler wants to clarify the nature of an exit he admits he had no choice about.

Despite playing a pivotal role in Wellington's fairly promising start to the season, the former Melbourne Victory midfielder found himself cruelly singled out after being substituted early against Central Coast Mariners in Round 8. 

"After the incident in the game I think he made his decision and I had no choice but leave the club," Finkler revealed exclusively to Goal

"I made a mistake (a back-heel pass) in the game but it is the way I play since day one in the league and I wouldn’t change otherwise I couldn’t enjoy myself so he took me off and for me that was him saying we lost because of me. 

"He didn’t shake my hand and turned his back on me when I got off the pitch, it was the first time it happened to me in my whole career."

With Wellington trailing 2-0 when Finkler was substituted, his withdrawal wouldn't solve much with the Mariners going on to win 4-1.

In the heat of the moment and after Kalezic's disrespectful snub, Finkler decided to leave the stadium with the game still being played. 

It is a reaction he now regrets having signalled the end of his time at the club and at least temporarily in the league he won with Victory in the 2014/15 season. 

"I did leave the stadium because I thought it was wrong what he did but at the same time I know I made a mistake," Finkler said.  

"I should have waited for the players because I respect each one of them. 

"It will be first time I’m talking about it and after five and a half years in the league and knowing many people around the league some of them knew it was one side of the story and I didn’t want to leave the league with the image as a bad person because I think I left a good story behind. 

"I gave everything I could every time I was on the pitch!"

Looking back at Kalezic's coaching methods, Finkler feels he tried to change too much about his players. 

"He had his way of coaching the team and for some players it was a huge difference as we know the A-League you can not change players like in Europe or Brazil so you have work with the squad and try to get the best of it," he said. 

Having swapped Victory for what remains a struggling Phoenix outfit, the 32-year-old has no regrets over his time in Wellington and backs them to succeed amidst now annual calls to cut them from the A-League.

"Every club is different and I felt like we had a good team but things didn’t work the way we thought but at the end of the first year I think we played some good football and we nearly made the playoffs," Finkler said. 

"The club has been working hard to continue to be part of the A-League and knowing the club a bit more now I would like to see them more years in the A-League."