A-League: Wellington Phoenix face tough road to break winless start to season

Reeling from their latest A-League setback, Wellington Phoenix have been forced to face an obvious question - have they forgotten how to win?

As coach Ufuk Talay reflected on the 2-1 loss to Newcastle Jets, he seemed to expect the question from media and allowed himself a smirk when it came.

Since the Aussie football competition resumed from its COVID-19 hiatus last July, the NZ-based side have prevailed just once in 10 games, including their two losses and a draw so far this season. They've gone eight games now without tasting victory.

"If you go back to last season, that's four months ago," says Talay. "I know you guys love stats, but that was a long time ago.

"Winning games builds confidence and that's what we need at this stage - to win one game - and I'm sure the run will continue then."

But if the Phoenix are to right a season that is listing early, their schedule doesn't seem conducive to a turnaround.

Next up, they take on surprise league leaders Central Coast Mariners on Sunday, followed by reigning champions Sydney FC the following week and the Mariners again the week after that.

"I'm not worried at all," insists Talay. "I have belief and we have the players to do it.

"They showed last season they could do it and we maintained the core this year. The more challenging the game, I think the boys love to step up, so we'll take any opposition on.

"I'm pleased we have a run of games coming."

After four games last season, the Phoenix had three losses and a draw, before dragging themselves off the bottom of the table with a nine-game unbeaten run that eventually helped them to a third-placed finish - their best result over 13 seasons in the competition.