Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante said coach Ricki Herbert has finally calmed down after the defeat by Sydney.
Herbert made an out-of-character outburst in the wake of the 2-1 defeat to Frank Farina’s cellar dwellers last weekend.
Herbert did not hold back in his criticism of the Phoenix as they went down 2-1 to a Sydney outfit missing their two biggest names, Alessandro del Piero and Brett Emerton.
Herbert said his side had been ‘poor, absolutely right across the board’ and earning a late draw after Sydney captain Terry McFlynn was sent off ‘would have been an injustice’.
Durante reported it was ‘back to business’ by midweek.
“He was disappointed and rightly so,” Durante said.
“The players were really disappointed. But we had a good chat about it and he’s calmed down now.
“When he needs to, on previous occasions he’s ripped into us and he ripped into us after the game. We can’t really say much back to that – we were poor and we acknowledge that. We’ve got to be better. It wasn’t up to the Phoenix standard, that’s for sure.
“We know it wasn’t good enough and we’ve all accepted it. The beauty is we can turn it around this weekend.”
The odds are against them doing so, given they face a trip to Hindmarsh Stadium to face an in-form Adelaide side that is pushing Central Coast hard in a mini breakaway at the top of the A-League table.
It is a grudge match of sorts, given the events that occurred at the same venue back in late October.
The Phoenix were 1-0 up at halftime through Stein Huysegems but the visitors conceded three goals in the last 40 minutes, including a highly contentious penalty involving Adelaide striker Jeronimo Neumann and Wellington defender Ben Sigmund.
Sigmund was red-carded for an incident that saw the Argentine branded a diver by Durante and also given the stinging accusation that ‘he’s a cheat in my book’.
Less than two months on, Durante preferred to speak about the bright start the Phoenix had made to the match whilst also talking up a side who have only lost once in their last seven outings.
“They’ve been very good. They and Central Coast have been the standouts, really, and they’re sitting one and two.
“We always find it tough to go to Adelaide.
“I don’t think anyone will pick us to grab any points there but we went there last time and probably in controversial circumstances we didn’t get the points.
“Hopefully we go out there and start like we did against Adelaide last time when we went a goal up.”
Durante said it was ‘not panic stations just yet’ with the Phoenix in sixth through 10 rounds, with 17 more to go and only four points separating them and the third-placed Melbourne Victory.