Leo Bertos says he's not unduly concerned about Wellington Phoenix's profligacy in front of goal last weekend.
Leo Bertos says he's not unduly concerned about Wellington Phoenix's profligacy in front of goal.
The Wellington side created almost two dozen chances in their win against Gold Coast United but only found the back of the net twice as Bertos, Paul Ifill, Mirjan Pavlovic, Tim Brown and Ben Sigmund all picked out goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson in their efforts on-goal.
It took a tap-in from Andrew Durante in the 29th minute to break the deadlock before Nick Ward sealed the win in stoppage time.
"You can work on it (finishing) but most of the shots we had were on target last weekend ... it was just the keeper made some great saves as well," said Bertos.
"Goals win games so it is important to score them. But if you break it down, usually within four or five chances you score one, maybe two goals."
"So as long as we're creating good clear-cut opportunities then hopefully most of them will start going in."
Midway through the season Bertos found himself dropped to the bench after a couple of lacklustre performances down the wing.
But in recent weeks the New Zealand international has rediscovered his spark and is again looking to take on defenders, while his delivery into the box from open play, free-kicks and corners is still causing problems for opposing teams.
"It's where it should be," the livewire winger said of his form.
"I need to build on that now. It's crunch time in the season and I need to be playing like that, if not better going into the finals."
"We feel like we can do something this year. We really want to win it so we need everyone performing really well."
After his blatant miss when one-on-one with Tyson last weekend, Bertos is also keen to break his goal-scoring duck this season to go with his five goal assists.
"Hopefully I can get some goals by the end of the season and create some more chances. That's the focus for me. I want to not just sustain this form but build on it and improve."
He will be hoping that starts on the away trip to Melbourne where the Phoenix will play the Heart and Victory back-to-back before returning home for the final regular season match against Central Coast on March 25.
The Phoenix have buried the away-day demons this season, winning four of their past five matches in Australia which has been a major factor in lifting them to third in the competition behind Central Coast and Brisbane Roar.
It is why they will head to the airport on Friday with a spring in their step because a win against fifth-placed Heart at AAMI on Saturday will virtually guarantee them a place in the top four and the all-important home advantage in the early stages of the finals series.
"After our last few results away we have to be pretty confident," said Bertos. "I think when we are confident we obviously play better and we play well. We have to make sure we're still in that frame of mind but it's going to be a tough week."
"Both (Melbourne) teams are trying to get to the same place as us and they will see us as a game they definitely want to try and win."
The Heart, who sit five points behind the Phoenix, won the first fixture between the two sides in December which sparked a five-game winning streak for John van 't Schip's men.
They lost to the Phoenix in Wellington at the end of January and since then have had fluctuating results, although they have taken seven of a possible nine points from their last three games.
"They are still winning more games than they are losing but they are not as consistent as before," said Bertos.
"The two games we've played against them they have been pretty dangerous and they are a good team so we need to be wary of them."
"But we really need to win to try and cement (third) position on the table and at the same time keep them further away."
"If we do win this weekend then obviously there is less pressure on us for the remaining two games and more on them."