Some may be surprised at second-placed Wellington Phoneix’s recent surge up the Hyundai A-League ladder but Brisbane Roar Head Coach Ange Postecoglou is not one of them.
Some may be surprised at second-placed Wellington Phoneix-s recent surge up the Hyundai A-League ladder but Brisbane Roar Head Coach Ange Postecoglou is not one of them.
Since the turn of the new year, the Phoenix have recorded five wins from seven matches with their last three victories coming on the road, where the sole New Zealand side in the competition has traditionally struggled.
Ahead of his team-s Trans-Tasman showdown with Wellington at Westpac Stadium on Sunday, Postecoglou said their current form had been a long time coming.
“I don-t really put much thought into where other teams will finish but I knew they would be competitive, they have been just about every year,” he said.
“It was a matter of how quickly they could overcome their injury problems, they had injuries to some key players at the beginning of the year but that seems to have settled down.
“They also had some issues off the field at the start of the year which have also settled down.
“Am I surprised they-re up there?
“No not really, but I wouldn-t be surprised about four or five other teams up there either.”
The last time Brisbane travelled to New Zealand, the two clubs met in a Hyundai A-League community fixture in Dunedin - an occasion which saw the Kiwis score a goal in each half to take a 2-0 win at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Prior to that, the Roar and the Phoenix shared the spoils with a 1-1 draw at Suncorp Stadium in mid-November.
Postecoglou shrugged off claims that their previous meeting would prove to be the motivating force to level the ledger, confident the prospect of finals football would be more enticing for his players.
“We were going through a rough patch at the time but we played pretty well down there,” he said.
“Whether it-s revenge or whatever, we-ve just got to go down there and play well.
“I don-t think we need any extra motivators, the players know we-re in the final stretch so every game takes its own significance and every game is a massive motivator for us individually.”