Rufer: Phoenix players prepared 'to die for the shirt'

Wellington Phoenix players are prepared "to die for the shirt” in order to make the club a Hyundai A-League force, according to midfielder Alex Rufer.

The Mark Rudan era commenced in dream fashion last Sunday as the Phoenix produced a 2-1 Round 1 win over last season's Grand Finalists Newcastle Jets.

That result gave Rudan his first win at the helm and has boosted Wellington's confidence ahead of their trip to Brisbane Roar on Sunday.

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And Rufer - who made his Hyundai A-League debut for the Phoenix in 2014 - said he has noticed a major difference in the squad's mentality under their new boss.

“We’ve got such a good group of boys that just want to die for the shirt, want to put everything out there,” he said.

“Winning the first game is so important but now… everyone is now focused on the next game.

“We want to put in a better performance. We just want to be consistent and try and improve every game.

“I think we can improve in a lot [of areas]. That’s something that is so good about this group - everyone wants to improve.

“I think defensively, we were quite strong [against the Jets]. Now, I just think, in front of goal if we’re more clinical, we can put teams away.”

Rufer has found himself on the first team fringes at the New Zealand capital club since his debut in 2014, starting just six of his 23 Hyundai A-League appearances.

But the 22-year-old is aiming to make 2018/19 a breakthrough campaign for both club and player.

“I love it here. I love Wellington. I love the people. I’ve got heaps of mates here,” he said.

“But I really want to play every game this season. I really do love this club and I really want to see this club go places.”