Phoenix hail breakthrough season

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has hailed the progress of his club after it was defeated in the Hyundai A-League preliminary final 4-2 by Sydney FC.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has hailed the progress of his club after it was defeated in the Hyundai A-League preliminary final 4-2 by Sydney FC.

The Phoenix have been one of the feel-good stories of the season after making their first Hyundai A-League finals just three seasons after being formed.

Crowds and excitement for the league has surged in Wellington on the back of the team's run and New Zealand's qualification for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

The dual All-Whites and Phoenix coach thanked the media for attending a packed press conference after the Sydney game and paid tribute to the club for the growing interest in the Wellington franchise after their fairytale run ended in Sydney on Saturday night.

"I can only thank everyone in this room. It's a mark of where the club has got to and we've got a lot of great people and players surrounding it supporting it," Herbert said after the game.

"I've kind of sat here with professional football in New Zealand and it was really, really difficult."

"We hope that the future of the club is very, very solid. It's been a great year. Personally I couldn't ask for anything more. And there's still some things to go yet. So on behalf of the club thank you."

Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante echoed his coach's comments and paid tribute to the fans for making the club such a success.

"It's been such a great journey. The fans, the sellout crowds in the recent weeks has been such a great thing," he said after the game.

"Like Ricki said before a lot of people picked us to come nowhere and to have such a good team and I can't speak highly enough of the club and Ricki, it's been a great year.

"We don't want to sour that with tonight's game. It's been such a great journey."

The pair left the post-match press conference to a round of applause from the assembled media.