Newcastle coach Craig Deans says the A-League ladder isn’t worth talking about – but he recognises that the home loss to Wellington has cost his club several spots.
After losing their first four games, Newcastle picked up 11 points in a five-match unbeaten run to climb into the top six but their progress was checked by Sunday’s 2-0 defeat .
Deans pointed out that a win over Phoenix would have lifted them to fourth, just behind Brisbane on goal difference, but the loss has actually left them ninth at the end of the round .
The Jets have played 10 games, the joint-highest in the league along with high-flying newcomers Macarthur FC, while six other clubs have completed nine fixtures.
The three teams below them have all played at least one less match and Perth have contested only six.
“The table is not worth talking about or getting carried away with,” Deans said.
“We certainly haven’t talked about it ourselves. All we’ve spoken about is wanting to move up it, which we will do.
“We’re going to Adelaide (next Friday) wanting to win. I think we’re good enough to win.
“We just need to tidy up in a few little areas and stay positive and keep working.
“We’ve lost one game out of the last six so it’s not the end of the world.”
The Jets had 12 more shots than Wellington but missed the creativity of playmaker Ramy Najjarine, who Deans said was probably a couple of weeks away from returning from an ankle injury.
Wellington’s win, their first in five games, lifted them off the bottom and above Melbourne Victory.
“Obviously a win lifts the spirits and builds a lot of confidence and I don’t think we’ve been playing bad football,” Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay said.
“We just haven’t been rewarding ourselves with the football that we’ve played and the positions that we’ve got ourselves into, so three points was the most important thing tonight.
“The boys have played three games in seven days, so the effort and the energy they put out tonight shows a lot about this team and shows a lot about the character and the direction that we want to head in.”
Wellington face free scoring Perth at Wollongong’s WIN Stadium next Sunday.