Ifill his own worst critic

If he was writing his own report card after his Wellington Phoenix debut, new striker Paul Ifill's honest appraisal would be along the lines of 'could do better'.

If he was writing his own report card after his Wellington Phoenix debut, new striker Paul Ifill's honest appraisal would be along the lines of 'could do better'.

An off-season signing from Crystal Palace, Ifill joined his new side in the week leading up to Sunday's 3-2 opening Hyundai A-League loss to the Jets in Newcastle.

The 29-year-old veteran played 68 minutes at EnergyAustralia Stadium and dealt well with the few opportunities that came his way.

Asked if he gave himself a thumbs-up for his debut effort, Ifill said: "No, not really, to be honest."

"It was a safe, rather than spectacular performance. I think I held the ball up fairly well but I needed to be receiving the ball in better areas where I can do damage, and that wasn't the case."

"That's down to me, being a creative player, to put myself in positions where I can be a threat."

The fact that Ifill didn't impose himself more on the game could be put down to a lack of match fitness and limited training time to familiarise himself with the Phoenix's style and his new team-mates.

"I was getting frustrated and I found myself getting deeper and deeper and taking on a bit of a defensive role, which is not really my game," he said.

"We didn't seem to do the things we'd worked hard on and done well at training; we didn't play good football and try to build things from the back."

"The pitch didn't help, it was awful. We like to keep the ball down and pass it, but the conditions forced both teams to try and go aerially and from our perspective that's not what we're about."

"I'm working hard now and doing extra training in my own time, so hopefully I'll get 90 minutes against Perth Glory on Sunday."

Sunday afternoon will be Ifill's first chance to play in front of his new fans at Westpac Stadium. He said an improved all-round effort will be needed to post Wellington's first competition points of the season against the Glory, who lost 0-1 last Friday in Adelaide.

However, one positive to take forward was the fact the Phoenix were able to grind their way back from an early 0-2 deficit to be level at half-time thanks to goals by Ben Sigmund and Ifill's fellow new striker, Chris Greenacre

"I don't know if we were nervous but we just didn't seem to get on the ball like we know we can do and before we knew it we were 2-0 down," Ifill said.

"I think if we'd got beaten 3-0 then we'd have been really worried. We showed good resilience to get back to 2-2, only to let it go with six minutes to go."

"A lot of teams would have rolled over at 2-0 down and away from home in the first game of the season. We didn't."

"Siggy's goal gave us belief and Greenie's goal to get us back to 2-2 was excellent. When we came out in the second half I thought we looked strong and that we'd go ahead and win the game, to be honest."

"But unfortunately the goal didn't come for us. While there has been some finger-pointing at the defence for the loss, it comes down to all of us."

"It's about Greenie and myself, as well, to be making better movements. The goals will come."