Merrick remains upbeat despite loss

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April 06, 2015 12:04:44 UK

Ernie Merrick believes Wellington Phoenix can keep a positive outlook around the club, despite losing top spot in the A-League to Melbourne Victory.

But the New Zealanders will have to do without veteran forward Joel Griffiths for the rest of the campaign, after he suffered a knee injury in the 3-0 home defeat to the Victory.

Wellington’s 3-0 loss at home to Melbourne City in the previous round was understandable, given that they had a host of players unavailable through international duty. To lose a second consecutive game by the same margin at Westpac Stadium was a major blow, as the Phoenix saw the visitors leapfrog them in the table.

It’s easy to look at all the negative things that happened but I see a lot of good, positive things there.

Ernie Merrick

Merrick said his former team, who he took to the Grand Final three times, were battle-hardened and able to perform under pressure and high expectation. Wellington never recovered from the blow of conceding a goal just 34 seconds into the match, when Gui Finkler netted after being set up by Besart Berisha.

“To their credit, our boys continued to press to try and create something and score a goal,” said Merrick. “I didn’t think we were going to win the game but we were unlucky not to score a goal.”

He added: “It’s easy to look at all the negative things that happened but I see a lot of good, positive things there. If I can keep their minds focussed on their jobs and the processes and the game itself rather than worrying about outcomes, that’s our best chance. If I can get their heads up – and I think I will – and we approach next week with a very positive outlook, I think we’ll do well.”

The Phoenix expect Vince Lia, Albert Riera and Ben Sigmund to return for next week’s crucial away clash with Melbourne City, which they are 4.00 to win. Wellington are 5.50 to beat City by a one-goal margin.

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