Miron's Ricki Horror Show

For a man whose team had just lost 6-0, Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg seemed surprisingly upbeat in defeat.

For a man whose team had just lost 6-0, Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg seemed surprisingly upbeat in defeat.

Having never experienced such a scoreline against him before in his career he admitted he wasn't quite sure whether to laugh or cry.

It appeared laughter was the best medicine initially.

"I don't know how to digest this 'Ricki Horror Show'," he said in reference to opposing Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert. "It's credit to him and credit to Wellington.

"I can't even blame the referee because I think he had a good game," he added with a grin.

"I've never lost 6-0 but my feeling at the moment is that sometimes you lose 1-0 or 2-0 when you deserve to win and it burns inside."

"But when you lose 6-0 so convincingly and there is no-one to blame sometimes it doesn't sink in."

He also took some solace from the fact even managers like Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson have bad weeks, such as the 1996-97 season when they suffered two big losses in 10 days and saw their 40-year unbeaten record at home in European competition ended.

"I read on the flight here Alex Ferguson's book from 96-97. Apparently he had some weeks where he lost to Southampton 6-3 and then to Newcastle 5-0 and then to Fenerbahce in the European cup at home where there was a 40 year record broken at Old Trafford. If Alex can have it then I can have it too."

Gold Coast was never in the game, yet for all its dominance Wellington was only 1-0 up at half-time thanks to the first of Daniel's two goals.

It should have been more with the outstanding Paul Ifill firing wide in the second minute and defender Ben Sigmund seeing his header come back off the crossbar after Daniel had slotted home the opener on 28 minutes.

But unlike in previous weeks when the Phoenix has struggled with its finishing and/or squandered leads, this time the home side made no mistake, firing in four goals in 11 minutes as Tim Brown, Daniel, Chris Greenacre and Ifill sent the ball past substitute keeper Stuart Higgins before Troy Hearfield wrapped up the team's best ever performance with a sixth in the closing 10 minutes.

"They started like a house on fire and we were lucky to be only 1-0 at half-time," said Bleiberg. "I said it was good that we were only 1-0 at half-time and that they can't continue at the same tempo for 90 minutes but they proved me wrong."

However, he was not convinced that the scoreline truly reflected the abilities of the two sides.

"I don't think 6-0 is a true reflection of the difference between the two teams. But two or three nil wouldn't be too far from the truth," he admitted.

"There were hardly any players from my team that I can mention that were outstanding, if any but there were a lot of Wellington players who played out of their skin - except the goalkeeper (Mark Paston) who had nothing to do."

Bleiberg also refused to use injuries to Kristian Rees and goalkeeper Jess van Strattan as excuses for the loss.

Rees departed midway through the first half after a clash with Daniel, while Higgins replaced van Strattan at half-time when the No 1 complained of a sore back.

"There were some mitigating circumstances but you want me to use it as an excuse? No way," said the coach.

He also conceded that star striker Shane Smeltz had been well below his best on his return to his former club's home turf.

The All Whites striker hardly saw the ball but when he did he was closed down quickly by All Whites team-mate Sigmund.

"His worst game of the season (before Sunday) was against the Phoenix at home and today it was his second worst game," said Bleiberg.

"When Smeltz plays against people like Sigmund either he knows how he plays and his weakness and he will get the best of him or Sigmund know the best of Smeltz and gets the better of him. If you ask me it's 2-0 for Sigmund so far."