'We don't have a team of winners' - Phoenix coach blasts players after blowing another big lead

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NZN

Wellington need to remember how to win, and they need to do it quickly, coach Darije Kalezic says.

The Phoenix squandered a two-goal half-time lead at Westpac Stadium on Sunday, allowing Melbourne Victory to surge home for a 3-2 win.

"We don't have a team with winners, 11 or 15 winners on the field, because if you have winners, this never happens," Kalezic said.

"Everybody has to understand that they have to be winners if they want to change Wellington Phoenix from the club that they were, to the club that everybody would be proud of."

It was the Nix's fifth loss of the season, leaving them anchored to the bottom of the A-League ladder with just one win and two draws from eight matches and having leaked a league-high 20 goals.

Kalezic isn't thinking yet about using the January transfer window to boost his squad, but says players will have to prove their commitment if they want to hold onto their places.

"Only players who are going to give 100 per cent effort for this club, those players are going to play. Players who cannot give 100 per cent, they will not play for the Phoenix."

Sunday's game also included a new twist with the surprise absence of Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler from the matchday squad.

Finkler was stood down following a petulant reaction to his 55th-minute substitution in Wellington's 4-1 loss to Central Coast Mariners nine days ago.

"For disciplinary reasons, he is not here," Kalezic said.

"Gui, after the change, he leaves the field, he leaves also the changing room and he leaves the stadium.

"He didn't wait for his teammates, and made a choice for himself."

Kalezic doesn't believe Finkler's reaction is indicative of any wider problems in his squad.

"I don't have issues with players at all - we work in a really good atmosphere with each other, and the players are really happy on the training field," he said.

"Everybody has to realise, we are here for the Phoenix. I am not here for myself - I am here for the club.

"The club is in the first place, and not me."

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