Greenacre steps into the Phoenix spotlight and eyes top-six surge

They may have been written off by everyone, but the new man at the helm of the Wellington Phoenix is still dreaming of Hyundai A-League Finals Series football.

Chris Greenacre has been handed temporary charge of the side after the departure of coach Darije Kalezic and he used his first media conference to put down a bold marker.

“We can still get in the top six,” declared Greenacre after taking interim charge of the side for the third time.

“Even though everyone thinks it's doom and gloom, we can still get in the top six, so why can't we do that?

“We have to set our standards high.



“If we fall short, we'll assess why at the end of the year but we have to look to get into the top six.

“It's a clean slate and with us giving the chance for guys to express themselves and enjoy playing football again, there's no reason why we can't,” he said.

Captain Andrew Durante has seen it all in his decade at the Phoenix and was hoping for a similar bounce in performance to the last time Greenacre took the reins.

On that occasion, following Ernie Merrick’s departure after eight games last season, the Phoenix beat Central Coast Mariners 3-0 in their next game.  

“I hope so, that's what we want to see and what Greeney will want to see,” Durante said.

“The whole week has been about enjoying ourselves again.

“It's about the front guys having freedom in attack, to press them and enjoy football again.



“The training sessions have been light-hearted and fun, but still quite detailed.

“The players have responded really well and hopefully that results in a strong performance on the weekend.”

Greenacre played 84 games for the Phoenix in three seasons, during which Wellington never finished outside the top six.

And he’s been clear on what he wants from his players on Saturday night.

“I want to see a performance from guys who really want to take it to the opposition and not sit back,” he said.

“I want to remove the shackles and I want people to express themselves.

“I want people to go and play with a smile on their face.”