Opinion: 'Nix - Raise your expectations
Mon, 22 Oct 2012 3:06p.m.
By Andrew Gourdie
Opinion by Andrew Gourdie
Reading around the various websites on both sides of the Tasman this morning, I was surprised, and perhaps a little concerned, about the tone of post-match comments out of the Phoenix camp following their 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar
"Phoenix happy to get a point" was the headline on the A-League website. After a match with plenty of chances for both sides, Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert said ""it was great that we ground it out and it's a decent point, they're a very good side".
He's right - Brisbane Roar are a very good side. But given the impressive home record they've built over their existence, the Phoenix should have the confidence, belief and an internal expectation to win every game at home, regardless of the opposition.
Herbert cited fatigue as a factor in yesterday's match with Roar, after seven of his players were called up for international duty over the last week. But the above article raises a very good point: of those seven, only two players in the starting XI for yesterday's game (Ben Sigmund and Tony Lochhead) played the full 90 minutes of both matches in the international window.
Should fatigue be a factor for professional players? This was one extra game, played five days prior to Sunday's match against Roar. Andrew Durante's illness meant Sigmund had no option but to dig deep - but if fatigue was such a significant factor, Herbert could have done worse by handing a start (or a place on the bench) to Luke Rowe, who was impressive last week against Heart in Lochhead's absence.
Finally, there was this quote from Herbert in the club's own press release: "This is a transition year for us and we may go up and down a bit but the club is really starting to evolve."
Given the strong pre-season campaign, quality import signings, emergence of young talent and the settled nature of the club off the field, fans and owners of the Wellington Phoenix should not accept this as a "transition year".
A 1-all draw against the A-League champions is not a bad result, but there's nothing wrong with being disappointed at not winning a match at home. The Wellington Phoenix have reached the finals in their last three seasons - it's natural for all involved with the club to raise their expectations.
"Phoenix happy to get a point" is not the sort of headline we should expect about a team which should be one of the headline acts of A-League season 2012/13.
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24/10/2012 7:57:33 p.m.
Hold up wrote:
Why are you taking Ricki's comments so seriously? He's a smart guy Ricki and I think he's just playing mind games... I think most people recognise that the 'nix as a club are in a very very strong position and as a squad they have what it takes challenge for top 2-3 finish and challenge for the title even (even Durante came out and said this exact thing). Ricki knows his job is to make sure he prepares a good team every week and keep the players feet firmly on the ground coz shit, the 'nix are not the only strong team in this years comp (give credit to the A-League here. Anyway, I'm sure Ricki and the rest of the management staff much rather they fly under the radar like they have in previous seasons rather than talk themselves up in the media.
23/10/2012 5:10:09 p.m.
Andrew, football teams are always in transition. All team owners/managers build, rebuild then sell the team and sack the coach. Nix couldn't score from many chances, neither could Roar. Nix midfield didn't close down Roar, end of story.
By the way how come Cameron Lindsay was good enough to sign for Blackburn but not good enough for A league?
23/10/2012 10:14:31 a.m.
GD Campbell wrote:
I agree with Andrew's comments, the Phoenix shouldn't be content with just a draw. I can't believe Rikki Herbert's comments, we're happy with a draw, Rikki (Herbert) should've been annoyed that the game ended in a draw, hell's bell, we had many of chances to score two or three goals, cmon' Rikki stop settling games for a draw, think positive and get stuck into your players, you wont get to the top on draws .. cheers
23/10/2012 9:47:12 a.m.
I agree, based on the result against the Hart some of the academy players should have been used. The Wellington Phoenix should be striving win as many of their home games as possible, building a wall of intimidation & success. I am not interested in being satisfied with having a draw at home, we are past that stage.
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