Wellington Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund has warned his team to avoid becoming over-confident ahead of their vital Hyundai A-League clash against Melbourne Victory on Friday night.
The fourth-placed Phoenix remain in the hunt to clinch a top-two spot with two matches remaining, and a win over Victory at AAMI Park would put the pressure on Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar.
Always strong at Westpac Stadium, an excellent away record has been a key for Ricki Herbert’s men, who have collected 13 of a possible 18 points from their last six road trips.
Sigmund, who has excelled alongside captain Andrew Durante in the heart of the Phoenix defence, said his team needed to stay focused if they were to maintain their strong form.
“We’ve done well (but) we can’t afford to become complacent,” Sigmund said.
“What we have achieved so far is acceptable, but it has served as an incentive to go all the way.
“Everyone in this team wants to win the league, and if we can beat Victory there is a chance we can finish in the top two and that would be fantastic.
“The big goal though is to ensure we have a home final at Westpac Stadium. I want to see Westpac (Stadium) packed out again, because those two playoff games we had there two seasons back are still fresh in my mind.”
Phoenix have tasted defeat against Victory in both of their meetings this campaign, and the New Zealand side have won just two of the 14 meetings between the teams.
Herbert’s team are also winless in four visits to AAMI Park, including a 1-1 draw with Melbourne Heart at the venue last Saturday.
Sigmund said that effort, and the 1-0 win in Sydney on February 25, showed Phoenix were capable of fighting out results.
“For me, that showed what we are about. We are grinding out results at an important part of the season,” he said.
“Earlier in the season we were playing well in away games and getting nothing from them, but we have turned that around.”
The New Zealand international said he was pleased with his recent performances despite struggling early on against a dominant Heart side.
“I’ve been pretty happy with my own form, apart from the first half against Heart when I had probably my worst 45 minutes of the season,” Sigmund said.
“For me, it is all about consistency and I pride myself on giving everything I have week in, week out.”