Phoenix were in ‘total control’ against Western United says Talay
Head coach Ufuk Talay praised his Wellington Phoenix’s side’s ‘complete’ first-half performance in the 2-0 triumph against Western United.
Star left-back Liberato Cacace’s 29th-minute effort put the Kiwi club in the ascendancy but it took until the 90th minute for English striker David Ball to finish off the Hyundai A-League newcomers.
The convincing result lifts Wellington to third place, higher than their club’s best ever competition finish of fourth, although Perth Glory are a point behind with two games in hand.
Phoenix have now won six of their last eight matches, and were rarely troubled by their seventh-placed opponents at Sky Stadium, as the home side led the shot count 21-5 and controlled 56% of possession.
“I think the first 45 was a very complete performance but the second half, at times, we left them come back into the game,” Talay said.
“They didn’t really create opportunities, there were a few deliveries into the box that caused a few problems but, other than, that I thought we were in total control.”
“We should have finished the game off in the first half to be honest.”
Western United head coach Mark Rudan admitted his side could not cope with Wellington Phoenix’s first-half onslaught before they were shut out for the third straight match.
“We couldn’t finish off all of those entries into the final third - not through lack of trying,” Rudan said.
“The first half was charge of the light brigade - they were just at us non stop.
“I’ve always said it’s a tough place to come. It took us some time to get into the groove of things but second half was much better.”
During those three goalless matches – a 0-0 draw at Newcastle Jets, a 1-0 loss to Brisbane Roar and this 2-0 reverse in New Zealand – the Green and Black have only landed four shots on target.
Despite the Victorians’ goalscoring woes, Rudan refused to question the performances of star front man Besart Berisha.
“[Berisha] has been up front on his own most of the season, it’s not because of him being up front on his own,” he said.
“We set up a certain way to create goalscoring opportunities so it’s not Bes or another player, it’s a collective. In the second half, it was much better.”
Rudan added: “We’ve got Central Coast Mariners next week so we’re still going to fight all the way, irrespective of [this] result.”
Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix
Wednesday, 18 March
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 7.45pm AEDT
Western United FC v Central Coast Mariners
Sunday, 1 March
Kick-off: 4pm AEDT