Mark Rudan says the coming week will tell him plenty about his Phoenix players after their early-season A-League bubble was burst by Western Sydney.
It was one-way traffic at a drenched Westpac Stadium on Saturday in a 3-0 win to the visitors, quelling the positive vibes that have surrounded new coach Rudan at the Wellington club.
An imperious Wanderers could have won by more and Rudan gave them credit before accepting his team performed well below the standards of their opening win over Newcastle and scoreless draw in Brisbane.
How they respond ahead of Friday’s trip to Melbourne City will give the rookie A-League coach a good gauge of his team’s prospects.
“It’s a one-off performance as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t de-rail anything,” he said.
“If anything, I’m looking for a reaction from the players, particularly when we get to training, our first session back.”
Rudan admitted two starting changes hadn’t worked as he wanted.
Striker David Williams and gifted All Whites international Sarpreet Singh made way for unheralded Australian Max Burgess and former Wanderers midfielder Mitch Nichols.
However, the hosts were over-run in the middle of the park, not helped Spanish signing Mandi’s struggles to get through 90 minutes.
Rudan’s substitutions all came up front in a futile bid to rescue the game.
“This is the team that I’ve got and I back them,” he said.
“Mandi struggled towards the back end but I’d made a decision to go for the game and try to get something back.
“I’ll always use my attacking options, not put on a defender. We had chances from set pieces to bring it back.”
Rudan’s biggest disappointment was a failure to match the intensity of the Wanderers, particularly in the opening quarter.
He knew the Sydney outfit were better than the side being written off by commentators and conceded he had come out second best in the tactical battle.
“I take full responsibility for the result, there’s no dramas there.”