Football 12 months ago

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick quits

  • Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick quits

    WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 05: Coach Ernie Merrick of the Phoenix salutes the crowd after winning the round five A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and the Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Wellington coach Ernie Merrick has a warning for A-League fans: strap yourselves in for a hell of a ride.

Merrick believes the A-League to have tightened considerably despite Sydney FC stealing a six-point break at the top.

With one-third of the season gone, the Sky Blues (23 points) lead Melbourne City (17), Melbourne Victory (14), Brisbane (14), Perth (12) and Western Sydney (11).

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Merrick's Phoenix slipped to last with a 2-0 away loss to Adelaide United on Sunday but he still maintains his club is a finals chance.

"We have got good players and we have got good depth, we're certainly a good enough team to be in the finals still," he said.

"But we can't keep this run going like this, we are going to pay a price for it."

Merrick noted his side had gifted Adelaide a win - the Reds had been winless after eight rounds, the same as in their championship-winning last season.

"That has got Adelaide off to a good win and they did this last year. I wonder if they can do it again," Merrick said.

"I certainly feel this is a league. I really believe that any team in the finals can win it.

"We have played against Sydney - they beat us with a goal in the final minute. I think they're a good team.

"Victory is a very good team but if you look at some of the upset results, if Adelaide go on a run they could do the same again. If we did we could get in the finals and do something.

"I wouldn't write anyone off in this league."

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