Wellington Phoenix head coach Ernie Merrick was still undecided on his startling line up for Sunday’s Hyundai A-League clash with Newcastle Jets in Napier when he went to bed on Saturday night.
Wellington Phoenix head coach Ernie Merrick was still undecided on his startling line up for Sunday-s Hyundai A-League clash with Newcastle Jets in Napier when he went to bed on Saturday night.
Merrick was wrestling with whether he should go with an extra striker or an attacking midfielder as he did after 30 minutes of last week-s 1-1 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers.
“I won-t make the decision till game day,” Merrick said.
“I-d like to think we can finish up with more goalscorers in the team and not have to have an extra worker in what is already a hard-working midfield.”
Merrick was disappointed last week that his team began the game playing long balls, something which is totally against his game plan.
“It was panic passing; one-touch, two-touch, hit and hope,” he said.
“The point I made at halftime was that if we are going to lose it is better losing trying to keep possession of the ball by playing good football, rather than playing long balls or one-touch forward passing where we keep giving it away.
“One way you are losing and learning from it; the other you are going back to how it used to be and finishing bottom of the league.
“To their credit the boys took that on board and, surprise surprise, once we started playing football we began playing as a team and playing very well.”
The Jets haven-t managed to find the net in their opening two games but that means nothing to Merrick.
“Every game is very competitive and historical facts mean nothing,” he says.
“It is about approaching every game knowing it is going to be tough and taking up the challenge and playing without fear of failure.”
Merrick has enjoyed his two days in Napier and is looking forward to playing in front of what is shaping up as a good crowd.
“We-ve been well looked after by the Napier people and they have even turned the weather on for us,” he said.
“McLean Park is a great little stadium, which took me by surprise as I thought it would be a country-style stadium with one stand.
“I believe we have to engage communities outside of Wellington and this has been a big step forward.”