Jets gave the game to Phoenix

Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond was left ruing his side's lack of concentration and its inability to finish its chances following a 3-0 loss to the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday night.

Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond was left ruing his side's lack of concentration and its inability to finish its chances following a 3-0 loss to the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday night.

The Jets came out of the blocks firing and dominated the first hour of the match, missing a number of gilt-edged chances to take the lead in the process.

They then capitulated to the host, and conceded three goals in the final half hour to leave van Egmond feeling further frustrated in a season that has seen them go from being last year's champion, to this year's wooden spoon candidate.

"We had enough chances in the first half to win three games. It was the same old story for us, in that we didn't take the chances we were given and we're on the wrong side of the ledger again," he said.

The Phoenix's style of play also frustrated van Egmond, who felt that his side had given away the match, rather than that the Phoenix had won it.

"It [the score] wasn't reflective of the match, and whilst the Phoenix are a hard working team they don't offer much in terms of their football. But credit to them, as they got the points." van Egmond said.

The Newcastle coach also didn't feel that Phoenix were much of a title shot, following their display against his side.

"The type of football that they show won't put them in good stead for the finals ... I'd be very surprised if they made the [top] four." He added.

Concentration however, was the Jets coach's biggest gripe, as he singled out his team for its lack of desire to win matches, and its inability to concentrate for 90 minutes - something that has obviously been frustrating the Newcastle coach for some time.

"It's one thing to miss chances, but it's another thing to drop your bundle and not do your defensive work. At the end of the day you can't single out certain individuals, as it's a team thing, but this has been a widespread thing over a period of time" van Egmond said.

"We've got Champions League football coming up, and we need to ensure that the players here are players who want to improve the Newcastle Jets. We need to finish the season in the right vein, and prepare for ACL football."

"If players and people at the Newcastle Jets don't want to do that, then we don't want you - it's as simple as that."

"There are players coming in for the ACL and there will be a few unhappy boys in our squad who will be displaced - we're not a transit lounge for players."

Newcastle's disappointment was contrasted by Wellington's jubilation, with coach Ricki Herbert looking forward to the challenge of pushing for the top four and finals football.

"It's cup football time now" Herbert said. "You've got 90 minutes to grab something, and it's about winning and we've done it"

Phoenix skipper Tim Brown was pleased with the effort and heart that his side showed to come back and win after soaking up huge amounts of pressure in the first half.

"There was a lot of desire, and we did what we had to do to win. We didn't come out and play beautiful football but you have to get the job done." Brown said.

Other than the three points, Herbert was also pleased with the team's progress in a larger sense, with the Phoenix securing the highest points tally of a New Zealand side in an Australian league, as well as being mathematically assured of ending the season off the bottom of the table.

"I'm pleased because the wooden spoon will be going to an Australian team which is a giant step forward," he said.

For Herbert now, finals football is a simple equation: "If we're good enough, we can go on to the finals - the ball is in our court."