Brisbane Roar say their best is yet to come beating the Phoenix 2-1 to retain the outright lead in the A-League.
Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey has warned there is more to come from his side after they notched their fourth successive A-League win on Saturday.
Despite being put under pressure for large parts of the match at Wellington, the league leaders grabbed a 2-1 win thanks to a late goal from Ivan Franjic – in a repeat of their first round victory at the same venue in October.
Defender Matt Smith scored in the 37th minute against the run of play before Carlos Hernandez levelled the match with a penalty for the Phoenix two minutes after the break.
Glen Moss then saved a penalty attempt by Besart Berisha before Franjic curled home the winner 16 minutes from time.
“We’ve got a lot of improvement in us, which is really good,” said Mulvey.
“(But) we’re the only team that’s won here (in Wellington) this year and we’ve done it twice. It’s quite a feat. That’s a great three points for us today. I thought our performance was deserving of the three points to tell you the truth.”
Mulvey also revealed some of his players had played through the pain barrier.
He refused to say who but Matt McKay was rested from training at the start of the week, while Franjic had an injection for a long-standing abdominal issue on Monday.
“There were three or four that were carrying something that ordinarily you might have given them a bit of a rest. But they came through with flying colours for us,” he said.
Goalkeeper Michael Theo, who missed the two previous games with a shoulder injury, returned in fine form.
He made several vital saves but the Phoenix didn’t help themselves either as their continuing woes in front of goal came back to haunt them.
Jeremy Brockie missed a simple chance in the 26th minute which summed up the Phoenix’s season.
Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick admitted his players were “devastated” by the loss and Mulvey had some sympathy for Wellington’s predicament.
“Firstly, you’ve got to believe (you can turn it around) and all the signs I see are that the players are still believing. They are still trying. It’s just not coming off,” he said.