Darije Kalezic has overseen his first game in charge of a 10-man Wellington Phoenix, saying he was satisfied with the outing as he plots their FFA Cup R.32 clash with Wanderers in Sydney next week.
The Dutchman and his assistant Rado Vidosic watched on as the Phoenix drew 0-0 with local club side Western Suburbs on a chilly night in New Zealand's capital.
NEW BOSS SATISFIED AFTER STALEMATE
“These kinds of games, normally, we have to win easily,” said Kalezic afterwards.
“But because of all the things that are happening in this moment in the team – injuries, the small squad, players who come late from their holidays – all of that stuff has an influence on the result.
“But we have trained a lot on organisation up till now and that was the priority for me to see tonight in the game and I saw that, so we can be satisfied about that.
“Other things we have to develop in the next training sessions in front of us,” he said.
SQUAD DEPTH TESTED
The Phoenix were without skipper Andrew Durante and Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler through injury.
Ryan Lowry, Hamish Watson, Louis Fenton, Matthew Ridenton and James McGarry also played no part in the game.
“It's our first game and we don't have a lot of players from the first squad, so it was important for us to finish the game healthy and not get any injuries,” said Kalezic.
“We've got some injuries from last season which has made it difficult for us in the pre-season.
“We did some good things, we did some less things and we have some time in front of us to train and develop that.
“Our organisation [out of] possession – I think the boys did very well all game.
“We kept a clean sheet and didn't give a chance away.
“We’ve put most attention on that part of the game up to now, so compliments to the guys for those moments of the game.”
NOW LET’S SCORE SOME GOALS
Italian defender Marco Rossi was sent off late in the first half.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Phoenix were well organised, with goalkeeper Lewis Italiano rarely threatened.
But at the other end, the Phoenix were unable to fashion too many clear cut opportunities of their own.
“It's always disappointing if you miss chances,” admitted Kalezic.
“In the first half we created three or four good chances, so it's always disappointing if you don't [score] goals.
“With one goal, we're going to break the game open and the opponent has to react differently.
“But the players did what they had to do and it's bad luck we didn't [score] a goal.
“We have to do better in front of goal, that's clear,” he declared.
UP FOR THE CUP
Kalezic now turns his attention to the Westfield FFA Cup, with Wellington to play Western Sydney Wanderers at Campbelltown Stadium next Tuesday evening.
“If we want to [get] a result there, we have to keep the ball longer.
“We have to be smarter, we have to make better choices on the ball and that's where we have to put our attention,” he said.