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LEO BERTOS...Raising their sights
WELLINGTON Phoenix won't just be content to make the A-League finals series this year, says Leo Bertos. They want to be the champions.
Ricki Herbert's side have reached the play-offs for the past two seasons, making it as far as the preliminary final in 2009/10.
They are third on the ladder with just three rounds remaining in this campaign and Bertos believes there are bigger and better things to come, thanks to a shift in attitude.
"Previously we were sort of happy to just be there, even though we deserved to be there," he said of their appearance in the play-offs.
"This year we've got that attitude where it's not just getting to the finals, it's winning it. We want to beat everyone we play and we can. I think it's that sort of attitude which is slightly different.
"It's come from the experience of being there the last couple of years. We're saying now we need to improve on what we've done before."
They have already done that as far as their away form goes. In previous seasons they were lucky to scrape one or two wins in Australia.
But this week they head into back-to-back fixtures against Heart and Victory in Melbourne with four wins from their last five away matches.
"The results have come not really by doing too much differently on the training field or travel-wise. It's been our attitude," said Bertos.
"In the past when we've gone a goal down say we've made it hard for ourselves. This year if we go a goal down it's more like 'whatever, we'll get back into this no problem'.
"I just have that feeling that everyone is more confident and believe that we are good enough to do something this year."
While four points from the two fixtures at AAMI Park would probably be enough to seal a top four spot – and the crucial home advantage in the first play-off round – Bertos says the team's focus remains on taking it game by game.
"It's tough to try and look too far ahead, even to the next game – because we could always slip up in the game we've got coming up (against Heart)," he said.
"We need to make sure we win this one first. We don't want to lose this one and then we have to win the next one.
"It's always been week by week. It's just about getting the three points."