Ernie Merrick resigns as Phoenix coach

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Wellington Phoenix head coach Ernie Merrick has stepped down from his position effective immediately.

The decision comes in the wake of the Phoenix’s 2-0 loss to Adelaide United last night, leaving his side at the bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder.

“I feel that I have not performed well enough as Head Coach, as we have a very strong squad that should be higher up the table.” Merrick said

“I take full responsibility for position the team is currently in.”

The Phoenix suffered their worst start to an A-League season, losing their first four fixtures of the 16/17 season.

They currently sit on six points from their opening eight fixtures, after many expected the side to be competing heavily in the league this season.

Six goals in that time reflects a poor total for a side with a plethora of attacking talent.

The news comes as a big surprise to the A-League community, as well as those at the club, who respect the decision of Merrick.

“The club would like to thank Ernie for his contribution to Wellington Phoenix and wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” the club said in an official announcement.

“Ernie has been a consummate professional since the day he arrived at Wellington Phoenix and was instrumental in overhauling the way the team performed on the field and how it conducted itself off the field.”

Merrick became the first manager to win 100 A-League games last month, after extended spells with both the ‘Nix and Melbourne Victory prior to that

“It’s therefore the right time for me to step aside and allow someone else to take over. We have a run of home games coming up and I think this will give my successor the best opportunity to take the team forward.

The team will head to Hamilton and Auckland for their next two home fixtures, not heading back to the capital until the New Year.

In a recent announcement former striker Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham will take over as joint Interim Head Coaches.

Who will take over from Merrick is currently undecided, although the club is expected to make an announcement in the coming days.

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