Wellington Phoenix football coach Ernie Merrick is playing down his side's disappointing recent results, saying his side is full of confidence going into their A-League knockout against Melbourne City on Sunday in Wellington.
The Phoenix have won just one of their last five games and lost their last regular season match 2-1 to the SydneyFC.
But Merrick, who took Melbourne Victory to A-League success twice, believes they can learn from their mistakes.
"I think there's an advantage going into a finals series with some adversity and having made some mistakes."
"I was talking to someone from the All Blacks and they said they learned so much from a couple of games prior to the World Cup and said 'we know not to make that mistake again,' rather than breezing in and hopefully we've learnt from these leadup games and they've been good practice," he said.
He believes there's a good vibe in the camp too.
"The main thing I've always found is (around) morale and confidence with the team. Whether they're upbeat or not. Whether they're intimidated or a bit weary of the opposition."
"Its been a good lead-in for us... it's never perfect but it's been a good lead-in."
Skipper Andrew Durante and midfielder Michael McGlinchey have won A-League titles before and Merrick wants his younger players to feed off their experience.
"It shouldn't be treated like a normal week but the trainings should be the same but be a little more intense.
"There's an excitement in the air and the boys should enjoy this. This is all a part of it and to be in the finals is a credit to them but it's about knuckling down and knowing what their job is and sticking to their job.
Melbourne City, like the Phoenix have won just one of their last five games.
The two sides have played each other three times this season with the Phoenix winning 5-1 back in November but their two most recent matches have both ended in nil all draws.