Herbert still on a high

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert congratulated his team's spirit after grinding out a 1-0 away win over the Newcastle Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Sunday evening.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert congratulated his team's spirit after grinding out a 1-0 away win over the Newcastle Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Sunday evening.

Herbert could have easily expected his players to be jaded after half the team played in New Zealand's dramatic qualification for the FIFA World Cup last weekend. Adding to the concern was that the fact that Sunday's match was played in stifling 42 degree heat.

But Wellington played smart football to register its fourth win of the campaign and consolidate its place in the top six on the Hyundai A-League table.

"The guys have really responded this week," Herbert said after the match.

"The national team players have come back really buoyant and these guys have been massively supportive of their success and they have brought it together really well."

"If we were going to be vulnerable it would have been tonight given that half the team played in a big international last week. We've got great character, the players are at an excellent level physiologically and I thought we were never really troubled throughout the game."

"It is always going to be a tough with the crossover for so many of us. But it is a totally different thing we had to come here and do a job and we had some fantastic performances tonight - that was more important. The squad has a lot of depth and quality and they all stepped up tonight."

Herbert said the heat wave conditions were difficult but he believed his side dealt with the scenario better than the Jets players.

"Nothing is going to change it is credit to these boys. At the end of the day it would be easy to walk away and say 42 degrees is tough to play in but I don't think it affected us at all - it was bloody hot though," he said.

Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante agreed.

"It is part and parcel of the A-League - we play in the summer," he said.

"It was tough but manageable. You just have to play smart and have the drinks break which helped a lot."

One of the most pleasing aspects for Wellington was its ability to gamely defend its 1-0 lead until the final whistle, particularly in the face of a desperate late onslaught from Newcastle.

"We have been in that position a couple of times and let it slip," Herbert said. "It was a good message for us that we went the journey."