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Phoenix gain may require pain: Herbert

19:33 Mon Jan 7 2013
AAP

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert admits his club's plans to build a team capable of winning the A-League may lead to short-term pain.

The Phoenix were brought undone 2-0 by Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday night after quelling the home side effectively for the opening 40 minutes.

But a Marcos Flores goal just prior to halftime reduced the Phoenix to easy prey in the second as the Victory did everything they liked but score a bagful.

In keeping with the evolving quality and style of the A-League, Herbert has signalled he wants a team capable of playing high tempo, easy-to-watch football, with improved fitness.

But Herbert has warned the Phoenix - who have played in the past three finals series - may have to endure the sort of up-and-down season they are having to build towards better things in the future.

He sees what the Phoenix are doing as a "three to five-year plan".

"If we do have a little blip this season - Adelaide's had one last year, Sydney's had them, Melbourne's had them, Central Coast have had them," Herbert said.

"This competition's getting better and better and you've got to be able to go with that.

"I guess it's a little two-edged sword for us. We want to have a team in Wellington that can win the A-League - that's very, very clear.

"To do that we're supporting that with a better footballing side that gives us a chance of achieving that.

"The requirements are completely different - physically, technically and right across the board."

The Phoenix have produced some excellent performances this season, but have also swung wildly in quality - sometimes within games.

That was again the case against the Victory, which Herbert puts down to a lack of experience.

His undermanned side were missing star attacker Paul Ifill through injury, and will be without midfielder Manny Muscat for another two matches because of suspension.