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Time for Finkler to ease up: Merrick

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/09/2016 Cathy Walshe

<span style="font-size:13px;">Wellington Phoenix's hard-working new signing Gui Finkler needs to become a little less conscientious on defence, coach Ernie Merrick says.</span> © Getty Images Wellington Phoenix's hard-working new signing Gui Finkler needs to become a little less conscientious on defence, coach Ernie Merrick says. It's time for Wellington Phoenix's new attacking midfielder Gui Finkler to become a little less conscientious, coach Ernie Merrick believes.

Two weeks out from the first game of the A-League season, and with just one more warm-up match scheduled this weekend, Merrick has very little to ask of his new signing.

Along with former Melbourne Victory teammate Kosta Barbarouses, the 30-year-old Brazilian has slotted smoothly into the Phoenix front line.

Merrick has just one quibble.

"The surprising thing with Gui is he's being too conscientious in defence," he said.

"I want him to cheat a little bit and not track too far back into the back third, so that when we win the ball, he's in the middle third ready to play the ball out.

"His service, particularly to Kosta who he's known for a while, and to Roy Krishna and Hamish Watson has been first class so I'm trying to get him to work less in defence."

Finkler himself admits the change is still a work in progress, but he's pleased with how things are developing.

"It's something we're still working on, but it's still two weeks ahead of the start of the league.

"Honestly, in the last three weeks, the improvement we did is superb - from the goalkeeper to the striker has been really good.

"There's still two more weeks to work, and hopefully we can get nearly to 100 per cent for the first game."

The Phoenix face Central Coast Mariners in Nelson on Saturday for the second time in a week, coming off a 1-0 win in Sydney seven days ago.

Merrick is still looking to bed in the final adjustments to his game plan, with Finkler playing a slightly different role in the No.10 jersey to last season's incumbent Michael McGlinchey.

With McGlinchey now playing more as an attacking midfielder down the left, and former Sydney United defender Jacob Tratt providing a similar option on the right, Merrick wants to see Finkler further forward in goal-scoring situations.

"It's just refining it, getting the system right, and altering it only slightly to suit the quality of the players and the type of skills they have."

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