Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has called on his players to show strength and character to keep them in the race for a top-six finish.
The New Zealand club were easily dealt with by the Melbourne Victory last night, going down 4-0 at Etihad Stadium, and now face a tough three weeks of matches as they strive to qualify for the A-League finals for the first time.
Wellington sit sixth on the table, four points clear of Central Coast Mariners and need to get a few points from the last three rounds which coach Herbert is acutely aware of.
“I spoke to the players straight after the match and told them that it’s down to the final line now,” Herbert said.
“It’s about our strength, character and determination. We’re not a bad team because of these two results and it (making the playoffs) is in our own hands, we just need to rediscover the momentum. But questions to need to be asked and that’s exactly what will happen.”
Herbert admitted it was taxing for his players to travel to Australia so often but said it is what the team has to deal with and conceded they may not have performed as well o the road as he’d have liked.
“Sometimes it becomes a mental thing. Sure, every time we have to travel it is internationally, but hey, that’s what we’ve always had to deal with. Clearly we haven’t dealt with it as well as we might,” he added.
The Phoenix face Adelaide United at home, Gold Coast United away and Central Coast Mariners at home in their final three home and away matches and will be looking for marked improvements to book their spot in the 2009/10 finals series.