Performance Unacceptable - Herbert

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has described his team’s performance in the 7-1 loss to Sydney FC on Saturday as “totally unacceptable”.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has described his team-s performance in the 7-1 loss to Sydney FC on Saturday as “totally unacceptable”.

After starting the game brightly, and squandering three good goal scoring chances before debutant Joel Griffiths opened the scoring for Sydney in the 11th minute after being put clear by a superb pass from star of the night Alessandro Del Piero, the Phoenix were sunk by a 28-minute five-goal burst.

Del Piero finished the game with four goals to his name and left the field in the 83rd minute to a standing ovation from the elated Sydney faithful.

The Wellington defence simply could not cope with Del Piero-s probing passes or the running off the ball of his team-mates.

Herbert said it was the most disappointing performance he has had to endure since the club was formed.

“It was totally unacceptable,” Herbert said.

“The problems were probably at both ends of the pitch because it wasn-t as if we didn-t have goal-scoring opportunities. We just weren-t good enough to take them.

“We lacked the conviction and quality to put the ball in the net which is a real problem.

“At the back we were exposed by better players. We defended awfully. One goal came from a ball over the top into space behind, and that was something we had talked about.

“We are a proud club and it is the first time we-ve been dealt a severe blow like that.”

While scathing about his own team-s performance, Herbert recognised how well Sydney had played.

“There were some very decent players on the pitch today and Sydney were pretty good,” he said.

“I-m sure Sydney don-t want to be second bottom with the big investment they have made in players.

“If they continue to play as they did tonight they will be challenging for the title.”

The Phoenix are back home on Sunday against Newcastle Jets and Herbert said they had to turn things around.