Paul Ifill blames weather, not Phoenix

JONATHAN MILLMOW
Last updated 05:00 08/12/2012
Ifill
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ
HELP PLEASE: The Phoenix’s Paul Ifill, right, and Stein Huysegems might be praying for goals and a good crowd to lift their spirits.

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Steady on, Paul Ifill says.

Call us a lot of things, but don't call us boring.

Everyone has a view on why the Phoenix fans have stayed at home this season and one school of thought is their conservative style.

But Ifill doesn't buy that, quickly pointing to the match statistics for last Sunday's game against Western Sydney at Westpac Stadium where they created 17 chances in the 1-0 victory.

Ifill blames the poor weather for the meagre crowd of 5400 last weekend and he believes a better day will bring a bigger crowd against a weakened Sydney FC tomorrow.

"I think it is the weather," Ifill said.

"Some people will say we are not entertaining enough, but I know from back home [in England] , if the weather is crap, people look out the window and decide they'll stay home and watch it on TV.

"If we get good weather this weekend I reckon we will get a good crowd and if we turn it on people will hopefully start thinking ‘I'll be back down there in a couple of weeks'.

"There has been a lot said about a lack of attractive play the other week but we created 17 chances and normally that would equate to a 2-0 or 3-0 win.

"On the day our finishing wasn't great and it was blowing a gale. It can be tough in there [Westpac Stadium], when the wind is like that."

Ifill doesn't back down from comments he made after the pre-season tour to India, that the Phoenix were going to be entertainers this season.

He still maintains Jeremy Brockie, Stein Huysegems and himself will turn on the razzle dazzle at some point. But till now a combination of injuries and poor results had prevented that.

"After three losses you have to get back to basics and get points on the board," Ifill said.

"At this stage we need to catch up and cement our place in the top four so results are more attractive than how we play.

"I'd love to win every week, playing the best football. Brisbane are doing that [entertaining] and they are behind us on the table. You have to get the right balance.

"At the end of the season if you win the league, no-one is going to say ‘you didn't win it very well,' or ‘you only won it by one point'."

The Phoenix are chasing their third win on the trot tomorrow, against a Sydney FC lineup minus Alessandro Del Pierro (injury) and Brett Emerton (Socceroos duty).

Sydney are bottom of the table and ripe for the picking but Ifill is wary of them because fringe players will be desperate to impress new coach Frank Farina.

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"I've also been really impressed by Yairo Yao," Ifill said.

As for the Phoenix, coach Ricki Herbert made note of a couple of injury concerns after training yesterday. He said Ben Sigmund (groin) and Louis Fenton (ankle) were both under a cloud but are expected to be available to play.

If either player is ruled out a fit again Dani Sanchez will come on to the bench.

AT A GLANCE

What: Phoenix v Sydney FC When: Sky Sport 1: 4.30pm Where: Westpac Stadium Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones TAB: Phoenix $1.70, Sydney $4.75, draw $3.50

- Wellington

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