'We have learnt a lot' - Phoenix looking to improve after new additions

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NZN

Wellington Phoenix have acquired a new assistant coach and an attacking midfielder to join returning striker Nathan Burns as they look to reignite their season against Melbourne Victory tomorrow.

Darije Kalezic expects his side to challenge for the A-League's top six, next season.
Source: 1 NEWS

Nix coach Darije Kalezic confirmed a replacement for assistant coach Rado Vidosic, who left the club along with striker son Dario the week before Christmas.

Dario Pot, who worked with Kalezic for two seasons as his assistant at De Graafschap in Holland, has already begun his stint at the Nix, travelling with the team for their last two games in Australia.

Wellington have also confirmed the long-heralded signing of 24-year-old Serbian midfielder Matija Lujujic to add extra support for former Nix sharpshooter Burns, who recently signed a two-year contract.

It's been eight weeks since Wellington's solitary win of the season, and they've been anchored to the bottom of the A-League ladder since late November.

They're back at Westpac Stadium for two games in three days, tomorrow's match against fifth-placed Melbourne Victory followed by Saturday's fixture against sixth-ranked Western Sydney Wanderers.

Kalezic is still hoping to announce further signings in the January transfer window.

"I still believe also in the vision how I want to play as a head coach but the players' quality has to support that vision," he said.

"It's not that we don't have quality players, don't understand me wrongly. It's that our players also need some quality around them.

"For sure we have good players but with some more leadership, with some more pro-active thinking, they will be for sure be 20 per cent better."

Despite Wellington's struggles, Kalezic says they haven't given up on making the play-offs.

"We are not ruling out this season - we have learnt a lot," he said.

"We are going to do everything to finish as high as possible this season."

Burns is back for a Phoenix outfit which desperately needs him to resurrect his form of 2014-15, when he scored 13 goals and won the A-League's Johnny Warren Medal for player of the year.

The 29-year-old striker is also confident Wellington can turn their season around.

"Looking at the squad we have, we have great depth, we have great players. If we can all gel and put it on the pitch, I'm very confident we can have a run coming into the finals," Burns said.

"There's still plenty of games to go."

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