Chris Greenacre has vowed Wellington Phoenix will not throw in the towel despite their slim finals hopes being virtually extinguished by a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle.
Chris Greenacre has vowed Wellington Phoenix will not throw in the towel despite their slim Hyundai A-League finals hopes being virtually extinguished by a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle Jets.
The loss leaves the Phoenix rooted to the bottom of the table on 21 points with just four games remaining.
It also came only a day after Ricki Herbert, who had led the club since their inception in 2007, resigned as coach following a poor season which has seen them mired in and around the foot of the table.
Wednesday's match was Greenacre's first in charge and was brought forward from March because of a clash with New Zealand's World Cup qualifiers.
But the same old problems plagued Wellington and two defensive lapses resulted in goals for Adam Taggart and Michael Bridges in the first half.
Jeremy Brockie pulled one back in the second spell to go second on the goal-scoring tally, but it was not enough to reverse his side's fading fortunes.
"You can imagine it's kind of like a morgue in there (the changing room) at the minute," said Greenacre after a tumultuous 36 hours at the club.
"They are hurting. They have been hurting a lot this season. But we have to positive.
"That's part of our job now is to pick the players up."
On Tuesday, Greenacre demanded that the players eat, breathe and sleep the club until the end of the season. And despite the latest setback he vowed that would remain the case.
"We've got to keep performing and keep improving as a football club," he said. "Just because of that result now we're all hurting and we know the consequences of what's happened.
"It's no good now just parking it and forgetting about it and letting the lads kind of toss it off for the next few weeks.
"I'm not that kind of person. The people around me aren't that kind of people. The owners aren't that type of people.
"We need to readdress it when everyone has lost all their emotions and move on."
Greenacre conceded this was the lowest point of his time at the Phoenix, who he joined in 2009 as a striker.
But the goal now was to finish the season strongly. They play Melbourne Heart in Dunedin on Sunday before trips to Western Sydney and Perth and a final home game against Melbourne Victory on March 31.
"Hopefully now the shackles do come off and people can go and express themselves and really try and enjoy football again," the Englishman said.
"I don't want to finish bottom of the league that's for sure.
"Nobody wants to finish last. Nobody wants to finish second but you certainly don't want to finish last."