A-League: Wellington Phoenix ready for season-defining stretch of games, says coach Ufuk Talay

Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay insists his side is ready for a season-defining stretch of games, as they fight to reach the A-League playoffs for the third straight season.

After their last gasp 3-2 victory over Western United, Talay feels they are well prepared for a last-ditch push for finals football.

"We are playing Perth and we are on the exact same points at the moment, so it's a very important game to get three points," he says. "We then get to play Western United again, which is a big game for us and it's like a six-pointer for us to win that game.

"We need to win our games, if we want any chance of making the top six this season."

The Phoenix have plenty of travel coming up over the next week, with three games in eight days.

They start with an away game against Perth on Sunday, followed by a short turnaround, when they face Western United in Tasmania on Thursday, then Adelaide United at home on Sunday.

"I can't remember our last trip, it's been a while," Talay adds. "It's actually quite exciting to go to another state to play a game, to be honest.

"It's going to be a very tough game. Perth have a very good squad and some good players, so for us, it's most important what we do, as always, with and without the ball.

"We'll go there to try get the three points and we need to continue this little momentum that we've built."

The Phoenix have arguably been the unluckiest team in the A-League this season, with some eye-catching performances not yielding the points they probably deserved. 

They now face a tricky task of closing the seven points gap to sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers with 11 games to play.

After the victory against Western United, midfielder Cameron Devlin told Fox Sports he was happy with how his side has been playing, but they needed to be more clinical to turn their performances into points.

"We came third last year and I think we are playing just as good football, we just aren't getting the results," Devlin says. "I think that comes with the experience, and hopefully tonight [Sunday] is something we can build off and take it from here.

"Just the football side of things, I think we are such a good team - maybe a concentration thing we are lacking, like we give away a soft penalty.

"It's those little moments that are hurting us at the moment. I think we are playing great football at the moment, but it's just those little things we need to tweak, maybe be a little bit ruthless in front of goal in both boxes."

The Phoenix will get a welcome boost, with experienced and key defender Steven Taylor back in the mix for selection, but he might not start, as Talay manages the Englishmen back to full fitness during the busy schedule.

"It's good with Tayls [Taylor]," he says. "He's got a full week with the team, which is great for us, so he'll be available for selection for the Perth game."