Merrick praises Phoenix duo after win over Jets

Wellington coach Ernie Merrick heaped praise on Gui Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses after the pair inspired Phoenix to their first win of the season on Saturday.

The former Melbourne Victory stars spearheaded Wellington’s 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium with Barbarouses assisting both Roy Krishna goals.

WRAP: Phoenix off the mark after shooting down Jets

“Kosta and Gui were terrific,” Merrick said.

“(Finkler) tonight showed his brilliance in midfield in controlling the ball and playing the ball forward. The supply he gives to Kosta and Roy is just first class.

“I’ve always said they are two excellent recruits. The type of players we wanted.

“We’ve got a good squad, it’s just about getting them all in there and getting the energy we had today.”

Merrick sprung a surprise by dropping mercurial midfielder Roly Bonevacia to the bench, while Marco Rossi and Louis Fenton returned to the back four.

Marco Rossi.

The moves were vindicated as Phoenix held their opposition scoreless for the first time this season.

 “To get a backline that’s very steady and kept a clean sheet, that’s a platform for moving forward,” the Scot said.

“It’s really good to see Marco Rossi play so well. Once you’ve got that type of defence you can attack more.”