Merrick rues missed opportunities

Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has been left lamenting missed chances as his side were defeated 2-1 at home by Perth Glory in their A-League season-opener.

Phoenix looked to have grabbed a point when Michael McGlinchey’s 73rdminute goal cancelled out Andy Keogh’s first-half header, but substitute Jamie MacLaren struck late to give Perth all three points.

Earlier, McGlinchey and Nathan Burns had missed good chances to put the Phoenix ahead before Keogh’s opener.

“I’m pretty disappointed we didn’t at least get a draw out of it.  I would have liked to win, so I’m pretty deflated. But it’s the first game of the season and we were probably more nervy than I expected”, said Merrick.

“We were pretty much on top but ended up throwing a point away and giving all three points to our opposition. Overall I thought we played some good football but we have to score goals”.

Merrick also refuted the suggestion that his team might have been burdened by the widely reported view that they are the best playing roster ever assembled in Wellington.

“I have no problems with that because as a coach you have to build up your team. I didn’t say that, but if someone else did then I think that’s a great compliment. We have to live up to that now. The expectation should be higher. What do you want me to say? We’re not that good a side? I like that expectation”.

“I thought overall we were a lot better than last year. But if you don’t score goals, you don’t win games. The boys are really gutted and to me that’s a good sign as well”.

The Phoenix next face the Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on Saturday.