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Finkler sidesteps coaching comparisons

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/10/2016 Cathy Walshe

Wellington Phoenix playmaker Gui Finkler may well be poised for a career in international diplomacy when his football career finally ends.

Preparing for Monday's A-League clash with former club Melbourne Victory, Finkler was asked which coach he most enjoyed playing under: Ernie Merrick at the Phoenix, or Victory mentor Kevin Muscat.

The 31-year-old Brazilian, who moved to the Phoenix this season after four years in Melbourne, displayed quick thinking to equal his impressive footwork on the field.

"I wouldn't compare one coach to the other - I think it's different styles, different coaches," he said.

"Kevin is a very young coach, only three years, and Ernie is... much more than that.

"The way the pressure is on them, they take differently, and the way they deliver for the players is different as well."

Finkler, who scored 19 goals in his four seasons at the Victory, says he made the move across the Tasman to improve his game.

Despite Wellington's winless start to the season - three losses, and no goals - Finkler is happy at his new home.

"I came because I feel like Ernie could improve myself as a player, and I think I've been doing that.

"Every time he has an opportunity, he comes and talks, to say the good and the bad things. That's why I really enjoy myself here."

Muscat's Victory outfit have a draw-loss-win record to date this season, and sit fifth on the ladder.

They come off a 2-0 loss to Melbourne City in the FFA Cup semi-final earlier this week, with Muscat fined $A5000 after being cited for comments following the defeat.

Finkler has few worries about the sort of reception he or former Victory teammate Kosta Barbarouses will receive from fans at Etihad Stadium.

"It's out of my control, I can't think too much. The only thing I can control is the way I play on the field, so that's why I concentrate on that."

Merrick, who coached Melbourne Victory to two A-League titles in his six-year stint there, is equally laid-back about the prospect of returning.

"They're a top-four team - personally I love to play at Etihad, I've had a fair amount of success there," he said.

"No doubt Gui and Kosta will be keen to do well, but I certainly don't put them under pressure.

"Every game's the same. We want to stick to our tasks, we want to press, create opportunities, we want to defend with a high line.

"Just because it's this team or that team, we don't change that attitude."

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