Ricki Herbert has praised his side's resolve to climb off the bottom of the ladder with a well-deserved 3-0 win over the Newcastle Jets.
Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has praised his side's resolve to climb off the bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder with a well-deserved 3-0 win over the Newcastle Jets despite the majority of his side being involved in a mid-week international.
Half a dozen Wellington players travelled to Shanghai midweek for a gutsy 1-1 draw against China and the Phoenix turned in an equally gritty performance to out-muscle the Jets on their home turf for a win that propels the team into seventh place, just two points out of the top six.
"We had six players who came off the back of an international on Wednesday night and (the team was) a bit interrupted when eight were away in the Melbourne Heart game, so we really haven't had that stability, but I thought it was fantastic," Herbert said after the match.
"We had to show a very strong performance, five of those players played that were involved in China and consequently we were good. I thought we were very good all around the park.
"Off the back of three losses you are looking for something from the season. Predict the results in this league you are probably a genius but the best side won and I am pleased.
"We haven't been that far away in the majority of the game and it came together nicely for us."
Herbert underlined the performance of striker Jeremy Brockie who scored a brace against his former club to secure the much-needed win.
"It is a nice thing to get them against his old club but the most important thing for Jeremy is to hit the back of the net," Herbert said of the 25-year-old striker.
"He was in red-hot form in the pre-season and like all good strikers they have their periods of time.
"It is good that he is back on the board - he probably should have had a hat-trick.
"What he brings in positioning and in character, he is just ideal for what we are trying to do. We are delighted.
"He is good for 10 to 12 goals a year. He is a good player and he will continue to work hard this year. Hopefully he is getting through this little patch and this is a good start for him."
Brockie could have grabbed three late in the match when substitute forward Ben Totori made a break and rounded the goalkeeper only to shoot wide from an acute angle rather than square it to an unmarked Brockie in front of an open goal.
Despite the lost opportunity Herbert said he had nothing but admiration for the sparkling contribution from Totori who made an impact after coming on midway through the second half.
"I gave him a little cuddle after the match because he is a real talent," Herbert said.
"He has a ton of pace, he has come out of the islands with a completely different style of football and he is a real strong prospect for us.
"We are looking forward to investing in him and I don't think he will make that mistake again."
The Phoenix coach also praised the efforts of central defenders Ben Sigmund and Andrew Durante, who had a stellar game keeping Newcastle's in-form marquee man Emile Heskey quiet.
"Ben, we label him an institution - he is a Kiwi boy and he is everything our club represents and you put him alongside a silky, technically good player like Andrew and I think it is a combination that has been incredibly good for a long period of time," Herbert said.
"They have been terrific together and I thought they dealt with Heskey extremely well today."
Herbert was also pleased with his side's improvement in front of goal after scoring more than two goals in a match for the first time this season.
"We created hardly anything last week against the Central Coast and a ton tonight where we probably could have got a few more, so it is coming together."