Talay admits Phoenix are feeling the pressure after no wins in three

-

It’s not been a bad start to the season for Wellington Phoenix with the side sitting in sixth place, only five points away from second.

However, coach Ufuk Talay believes his side are struggling to cope with the pressure. 

The Phoenix’s 2-1 defeat to Macarthur FC on Sunday made it three games in a row without a win following a 2-2 draw with Perth Glory and a 3-1 loss to Melbourne Victory. It further extends a record of 20 points dropped from winning positions for the team. 

Embed from Getty Images

Like plenty of games before this season, Wellington stormed into the lead against the Bulls courtesy of Bozhidar Kraev’s fourth-minute strike.

Macarthur restored parity just after the half-hour mark, but the Phoenix spurned two glorious opportunities to take an advantage into halftime. The side were awarded two penalties in the final five minutes with both Oskar Zawada and Yan Sasse seeing efforts saved by Filip Kurto. 

An early second-half goal for the Bulls through Moudi Najjar proved to be the winner condemning Wellington to defeat.

Embed from Getty Images

Talay lamented his side’s inability to once again build on an early advantage highlighting the need for a change in mentality from his team. 

“Do we play some decent football at times? I believe so. Are we handling the expectation? I don’t believe so,” Talay admitted.

“I think if you want to be a top team there are the pressures of playing a certain way and playing that brand and winning games.

“I think that’s something that with our squad at times has let us down. I think it’s handling that expectation and when you go up 1-0 it’s to take the game one step further and score the second goal and maybe even a third to try and kill the game.

“But I think that’s something that we haven’t handled well this season.”

Embed from Getty Images

After spending the majority of the past two seasons based out of Wollongong, Talay believes the impact of the pressure of playing back in New Zealand is having an impact on his squad. 

“I don’t think it’s a physical thing, I think it’s more of the mental side of things,” he said.

“Last year with the squad that we had we made the top six, but I believe there was an understanding within the group that there were no expectations because we were based in Australia.

“Now, there are bigger expectations that we need to do well because we are playing at home,” he explained. 

Embed from Getty Images

It will be a pivotal next couple of weeks for the Phoenix on the road facing Western United and Central Coast Mariners in Friday night fixtures.

With the league so tight between the places especially around the top six, a run of positive results would help to ensure the side finishes in a finals position for the 2022/23 season.

Embed from Getty Images

Feature Image Credit: Cameron McIntosh

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

mm
Timothy Gibson
I am a student currently studying a Bachelor of Journalism/ Bachelor of Laws while writing football match reports and feature articles.

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required