Merrick Holds his Hands Up

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick is blaming himself for the club's poor season, pointing to discipline, defence and recruitment as key areas for improvement. Article courtesy of the Dominion Post

Article courtesy of the Dominion Post

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick is blaming himself for the club's poor season, pointing to discipline, defence and recruitment as key areas for improvement.

In reality Merrick has done most things right in his first season in Wellington, with a crippling injury toll the major reason they are in danger of retaining the wooden spoon if they fail to beat Melbourne Victory in their final game on Saturday.

Merrick's job was also made harder by the messy start to the season, with the All Whites away on World Cup qualifying duty and the Phoenix only playing once at Westpac Stadium in the opening seven rounds.

The Phoenix were winless in their first 10 games, and despite a mid-season revival, are ninth of 10 teams, with Melbourne Heart two points behind and boasting a far superior goal differential.

It is not a scenario Merrick, a two-time A-League champion with Melbourne Victory, is used to.

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