Team Wellington still have work to do to close the gap to Auckland City

Team Wellington coach Jose Figueira and assistant coach Scott Hales look on prior to the OFC Champions League final ...
HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY IMAGES

Team Wellington coach Jose Figueira and assistant coach Scott Hales look on prior to the OFC Champions League final second leg on Sunday.

Team Wellington need to continue to improve if they are to compete with Auckland City on a regular basis.

Progress has been made under coach Jose Figueira this season, with a style of football developed which could see them able to foot it with the national league standard bearers more often.

But their record against Auckland this season was four losses and one win (2-1 in the Stirling Sports Premiership final), with an aggregate score of 13-3.

Team Wellington captain Bill Robertson and defender Justin Gulley celebrate winning the national league title for the ...
PHOTOTEK.NZ

Team Wellington captain Bill Robertson and defender Justin Gulley celebrate winning the national league title for the second year in a row.

Never was the gap between the sides more apparent than in the two-legged OFC Champions League final, which a clinical Auckland side won 5-0.

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Immediately after the second leg at David Farrington Park in Wellington on Sunday, Figueira said he was already starting to focus on next season.

Team Wellington coach Jose Figueira (sitting) and assistant Scott Hales (right) during the OFC Champions League final ...
RAGHAVAN VENUGOPAL/PHOTOSPORT

Team Wellington coach Jose Figueira (sitting) and assistant Scott Hales (right) during the OFC Champions League final second leg on Sunday.

"I've said to the players in there that it has been a positive season in regards to the way we're taking the team forward and how we've been an attacking and exciting team to watch, a team that leaves everything out there on the field.

"I think we've done that this year and now the mind is already onto next year thinking about how we can evolve that."

Figueira set his side up for most of the year in a 3-5-2 formation, looking to either hold possession or get the ball forward quickly to the talented quartet of Ben Harris, Tom Jackson, Andy Bevin and Joel Stevens.

Team Wellington still have work to do to prevent more scenes like this, as coach Jose Figueira consoles midfielder ...
GETTY IMAGES

Team Wellington still have work to do to prevent more scenes like this, as coach Jose Figueira consoles midfielder Leonardo Villa after losing the OFC Champions League final to Auckland City for the third year in a row.

That at times meant they were vulnerable to counter attacks, with defensive errors proving to be their undoing on many occasions throughout the season, including in the OFC final.

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Next season could be the time to pounce for Team Wellington. Auckland's coach since 2010, Ramon Tribulietx, looks set to move on to bigger and better things, which could see a period of transition at the club.

Figueira expected Auckland to continue to set the benchmark in the league no matter who was in charge and said there was work to do to get up to their level.

"Auckland are a team and a core of the squad who have been together a long time. 

"Playing in our league, they're operating on a level higher than us, that comes from professionalism, training every day, being together every day and that's something we'll certainly look at and to try and close the gap, that will make a huge difference."

But being able to do that surely comes from having the resources to support a fulltime squad, right?

"For sure, it's resources and it's putting a squad together that maybe want to make a few sacrifices to give it a bigger shot next year," Figueira said. 

"We'll review and see where we can make those changes."

Overall, Figueira was happy with how his first season in charge had gone after making the move down from Auckland, where he coached Auckland City's youth team and Central United in the Northern Premier League.

"There's always the element of the unknown when you come to a new club, a new city, move the family down and trying to convince a group of players you want them to play a certain way.

"After what was a bumpy start the boys have got to grips with it. I think we've been exciting to watch and left everything out there, win lose or draw. For me as a coach I can't ask for anything more from the buy-in the players have shown."

 - Stuff

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