Job half done. That's about all Mark Rudan will offer when reflecting on the striking transformation he's instigated at the Wellington Phoenix.
Coach of the unquestioned surprise packets at the midway point of the A-League season, Rudan won't waste time glancing backwards as his team welcome Sydney FC for a midweek blockbuster.
The perennial strugglers have been overhauled from the ground up by Rudan, to the point where they are part of the breakaway top six and revelling in a nine- game unbeaten run.
However, home matches this week against the Sky Blues and Melbourne City, followed by a trip to leaders Perth, are enough for Rudan to keep his feet planted.
"We've laid a really strong platform, a good base, and we're in this position because of the work the players have done, and the staff," Rudan said.
"But we haven't done anything yet, the job's half done.
"Where we finish, I don't know, and I certainly don't put a ceiling on the players and where this club can go."
Spearheaded by a double to red-hot striker Roy Krishna, the Phoenix are coming off a 3-3 draw against Melbourne Victory - their second stalemate away to the defending champions this season.
As always, Rudan wasn't getting carried away, preferring to analyse how his players let a 3-1 half-time lead slip.
He believes they're still learning to cope with unfamiliar scenarios and paid for failing to stick with what worked before the break in Melbourne.
"Our intent in the first 10-15 minutes certainly wasn't to drop off them. It was actually the opposite, that's what I'm most disappointed about," he said.
"It allowed Melbourne Victory to get some confidence. They got themselves on the ball, so we need to rectify that."
The best performance of Wellington's season was arguably their 3-1 dismantling of Rudan's former club Sydney FC in round seven.
Krishna bagged the first of his four braces this season, routinely catching out a disorganised Sydney back four with his pace.
Steve Corica's men have won six of seven matches since to be third, four points off the lead and six clear of the fifth-placed Phoenix.
They are coming off a scratchy 1-0 win over Newcastle and face a taxing week themselves, including a visit to Victory on Saturday.
Corica plans rotation to cope with the schedule and should be boosted by the return to fitness of Milos Ninkovic (illness) and Paulo Retre (groin).