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Herbert defiant after thumping defeat

Ricki Herbert insists he is still the man to guide Wellington Phoenix out of the mire despite a horror performance against Sydney FC.

The Phoenix’s poor season hit a new low on Saturday night as they slumped to their heaviest ever defeat in the A-League, going down 7-1 to the rampant Sky Blues.

The embarrassing loss surpasses a 6-1 thrashing to Adelaide in 2008 and keeps the Kiwi side on the bottom of the ladder with little chance of making the finals.

Having suffered four defeats in their last four outings, the pressure is intensifying on Herbert.

The experienced coach was unsure if he still had the full backing of the owners but is adamant he is still the right man to lead the club.

“I’m as hungry as ever,” Herbert said.

“There’s still a lot to build about this club.

“It’s tough, very, very tough at the moment but I’m just as keen to get us out of this.”

Herbert could do little to help his side on Saturday night as they were torn apart by an Alessandro Del Piero master-class.

The Italian star scored four goals for the first time in his career and was untouchable in a performance which is sure to send warning signals to the rest of the competition.

But Herbert had no excuses for his side’s inept showing.

“That’s the most disappointing performance from a team that I’ve had at the football club,” he said.

“It was totally unacceptable at both ends of the pitch.

“It’s not like we didn’t have goal-scoring opportunities, we just weren’t good enough to take them and at the back we were exposed by better players.

“It’s a tough ask but we’re back home next week so hopefully we can turn things around.”

Asked how the players were feeling after the lowest night in the club’s history, Herbert said: “They better feel as bad as I do.

“This is a really proud club and this is the first time we’ve been dealt a severe blow like that.

“At the end of day it’s not acceptable.”

The Phoenix get a chance to start their road to redemption when they host Newcastle at Westpac Stadium next Sunday.

Sat 19 Jan, 2013
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