‘The boys dug deep’ - Talay praises resilient Phoenix
Wellington Phoenix boss Ufuk Talay said his side did what they needed to do as they returned to winning ways over Newcastle Jets on Friday evening.
The Phoenix edged out the plucky Jets 2-1 at Sky Stadium courtesy of Ulises Davila’s tenth goal of the season to retain their hold on fourth position on the Hyundai A-League table.
The win comes after the Phoenix saw their club record nine-match unbeaten streak ended last week in a frustrating defeat against Brisbane Roar.
Speaking post-match, Talay admitted his side were not at their best but still deserved their win over the bottom-of-the-table Jets.
“Last week we played well and we lost, and this week we weren’t at our best and we still played some decent football at times in decent patches and we got the three points,” Talay said.
He added: “They made it difficult for us. They stopped us from playing our game but look, at the end of the day, that is going to happen at times.
“But we created and we scored the goals we needed to score and we defended very well.
“The boys dug deep and sometimes you got to do that to win the game and, most important, three points.”
The Phoenix held out a late Jets push for an equaliser to post a fifth straight win in the Kiwi capital against their Hunter-based opponents and Talay praised the performance of goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.
“There was a great save at the end he did there with his leg - that’s what he is there for,” Talay said of his All Whites shot-stopper.
“He is a quality goalkeeper and he will keep doing his job every week.”
Jets Interim Coach Craig Deans believed his side deserved to at least take a point away from the contest, which leaves his side four points adrift at the foot of the ladder and without a win in eight matches.
“I think we didn’t deserve to lose. I think most people that watched the game would probably say that,” Deans explained.
“Whether we deserved to win or not, that is probably up for debate, but we certainly deserved at least a draw and we’re very, very disappointed we didn’t get that.”
However, Deans still found plenty of positives in the performance – citing the influence of the returning Nigel Boogaard in a tweaked defensive set-up.
“I think defensively we changed it up a little bit and went to a back three and, bringing Nige back in, just with his experience and organisation skills, is just something we have probably lacked a little bit,” he said.
“It was nice to have him back and Arroyo getting on the scoresheet was also a positive. But it is a tough situation and as I said we just need to work hard and get ourselves out of it,” he concluded.
Newcastle Jets v Western United
Saturday, 1 February 2020
McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 5pm AEDT
Wellington Phoenix on bye