A-League: Phoenix boss Mark Rudan refusing to blame future speculation for Roar loss

Wellington Phoenix coach Mark Rudan is refusing to blame the speculation over his future for his side's run of poor form. 

On Friday, the 'Nix lost their second-straight A-League game, falling 2-1 to Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium. 

The back-to-back defeats mean their hopes of finishing inside the A-League's top four are in serious doubt, with just two regular-season matches to go.

The loss to Brisbane came hours after reports suggested Rudan had informed club officials he was leaving at the end of the season, despite being on contract until the end of the 2019-20 season.

Rumours of his early departure have swirled for months, with the 43-year-old struggling with life away from his Sydney-based family.

And the fact those rumours have been around for months is exactly why Rudan says the latest reports are not to blame for the Brisbane defeat.

"It makes no difference, it's not an excuse," said Rudan.    

"Everyone knows at the football club what's going on. It was known before... we scored a record number of goals in three games, so... it's not an excuse," he said.

"At the end of the day, we lost because we weren't good enough to win the game tonight and the same being on Sunday.

"It has nothing to do with what's going on. The speculation started in January."

The Roar led 2-0 at halftime, courtesy of two goals from French striker Eric Bautheac. Fit-again defender Steven Taylor pulled a goal back for the Phoenix in the 53rd minute, but they were unable to find an equaliser.

Rudan said he was fully focused on finishing the season in style with Wellington, despite reports saying an announcement could be made as early as next week.

"At the right time, the football club will come out and we'll make a joint statement, when it's appropriate. The important ones know what going on.

"I'm fully focused and my players are entirely focused on ensuring we finish the season well.

"We want to play finals football. If I said that at the start of the season, 95 percent of people would have laughed at me, so that's the position we're in right now and we want to finish the season well." 

Rudan has been linked with the newly formed Western United FC, with speculation he will be its inaugural head coach, when its makes its A-League debut next season. Adelaide United is also rumoured to be interested in his services.

The Phoenix now face an all-important top-six clash with Melbourne City next Sunday on the back of consecutive defeats.

They could drop as low as fifth in the standings, depending on the outcome of the Victorian outfit's home match against or Adelaide United.

They still haven't clinched a playoff spot, but would do so, if Newcastle Jets lose or draw this weekend.


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