Phoenix striker Chris Greenacre has been in football too long to let comments from the opposition rattle him in the build-up to a big game such as Sunday's minor semi-final at Westpac Stadium.
Chris Greenacre has been in football too long to let comments from the opposition rattle him in the build-up to a big game.
Ahead of the biggest game in Wellington Phoenix's history Newcastle Jets coach Branko Culina has made disparaging comments about the New Zealand-based side but it is all water off a duck's back to Greenacre, who is relishing the prospect of playing in the minor semi-final in front of a capacity 34,500 parochial crowd at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.
"I wouldn't comment too much on what other managers have to say," said the English striker. "It's about us at the end of the day."
"That's how we want to keep it because that's all that concerns me is how Wellington Phoenix do, not how anyone else does."
"There are always mind games and that kind of thing before any big clash. There are 35,000 people who think we should be here … it just shows you the whole town and even the FFA are behind us."
Newcastle will head into the clash as the underdogs, given Wellington's 18-game unbeaten run at the stadium and its good form in recent weeks.
But the Jets believe they have the edge when it comes to experience in Hyundai A-League finals after winning the competition two years ago.
Greenacre acknowledged that would count in the Jets' favour but felt with the likes of Paul Ifill, who has played in the FA Cup final and internationals such as Tony Lochhead, Ben Sigmund, Leo Bertos, Tim Brown and skipper Andrew Durante there were enough players in the Phoenix squad with big-game experience to counter that.
"We've got players who have played at a higher level and a (Hyundai A-League) winner in Andrew Durante so he knows all about it. It's just another game but with a big prize at the end of it."
International duty has disrupted the build-up to Sunday's game.
The All Whites contingent, including coach Ricki Herbert, are in Los Angeles for the World Cup warm-up match against Mexico and will not return to the New Zealand capital until Saturday, while Durante and McKain are part of the Socceroos squad for the Asian Cup qualifying clash against Indonesia and are expected to return on Friday.
So maintaining the momentum generated from four consecutive wins on the bounce will be the challenge for the Phoenix side.
"Against Perth we probably didn't play as well as we have been playing but we've kind of got that momentum where you just can't wait for the next game," said Greenacre.
"All good teams that are in a vein of form tend to pick up results and that's the kind of form we're in at the minute."
"The only disappointing thing is that we've had to wait two weeks for the game."