Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert is going to have some difficult selection decisions to make in the coming weeks after impressive displays from Dani Sanchez, Daniel and Mirjan Pavlovic in the 5-2 Hyundai A-League demolition of Newcastle Jets.
Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert is going to have some difficult selection decisions to make in the coming weeks after impressive displays from Dani Sanchez, Daniel and Mirjan Pavlovic in the 5-2 A-League demolition of Newcastle Jets.
Sanchez, who has struggled with injury since joining the club, was in sparkling form at Westpac Stadium and showed all his class and creativity as well as some clinical finishing as his first-half brace helped the Phoenix to a 3-0 lead at the break.
Chris Greenacre slid home a header for the third goal late in the first half before Pavlovic, who replaced Sanchez at the 70 minute mark, scored two goals in two minutes to complete the rout.
Both his goals and Sanchez's first were set-up by Daniel whose delivery into the box and vision were outstanding, particularly considering he has been used sparingly by Herbert so far this season.
"Daniel took his chance really well, and came on and sparked things," said the Phoenix coach.
Sanchez filled the role normally fulfilled by Paul Ifill, who won't travel to Adelaide for the Phoenix's match on December 30 as he continues to be hampered by a groin problem.
He did so with aplomb and gave the Phoenix an attacking edge they have lacked when Ifill has been absent previously.
"He's been really good for us," said Herbert of Sanchez. "He's been patient and we've been patient with him."
"He's clever. He's got good feet. He's a good finisher and he was terrific. He caused problems and got in behind them. His finishing was top drawer."
"He's somebody, from a long-term perspective, we'd like to keep around the club."
There is every chance he could play alongside Ifill at some stage too, although Greenacre has worked tirelessly up front and Pavlovic has provided plenty of energy off the bench as well.
"Dani is different. He can come in receive and turn and play a little bit deeper and cause problems and get in those pockets," explained Herbert.
"Ifill has got good pace and he gets in behind people but you can't rule out Greenie (Greenacre)."
"It's been hard for him because all our strikers have been out of the team and he's had to soldier on on his own."
"It was great to see him get a goal. It will do his confidence a world of good."
The same applies to Pavlovic, who did himself few favours when he was sent off in the match against Perth Glory for a needless and reckless challenge.
But he took both his chances well, slotting his first past Jets keeper Ben Kennedy in the 74th minute then heading home his second in the 76th minute.
"It's good to see Pav get on the score-sheet tonight. That won't do his confidence any harm," said Herbert. "But he's got to keep working hard."
"He let us down a couple of weeks ago with the sending off. It was important that he turned things around. With Ifill out the team and Wardie (Nick Ward) out the team (with concussion) some of those young guys have got to step up. I thought he was excellent to do that."