Football: Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay shrugs off referee no-call despite loss of unbeaten run

Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay is putting the sting of a controversial loss behind him, as his team prepare for an FFA Cup knockout match against Western United.

The Phoenix lost for the first time in 14 A-League games on Friday night, beaten 2-0 by Western Sydney Wanderers at Wollongong.

But the result wasn't without controversy, with an apparent foul missed in the build-up to the Wanderers' first goal midway through the second half.

Goalscorer Tomer Hemed collided with Phoenix defender Callan Elliot moments before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Oli Sail for the key score.

Afterwards, the club announced it would seek an explanation from the A-League, after the video match official ignored the incident and focused on whether the ball had crossed the line.

Coach Talay was fuming and club chief executive David Dome filed a complaint, but their frustration is unlikely to produce anything more than an apology from the league.

Talay says it's more about ensuring the right decision is made in the future.

"At the end of the day, we all make mistakes," Talay says. "For me, it's about how we make the process better - what is the process the referees go through? 

“We need to produce a good product and make sure the big moments in the game aren't produced by the referees - they are produced by the players."

The Phoenix must move on quickly, with the Cup clash providing an outlet for their internal frustration at their previous result.

Talay says the squad is in good shape and don’t believe they got the result they deserved against Wanderers.

"The good thing about football is having a game very close. We've moved on and we have learned from that, and we know what we can improve on from it.

"There are times when you look back at a game and acknowledge the opponent was better than us. I don't think that was the case on the weekend, but that's football, and we have to move on to this Cup game tomorrow and that's our focus.

"We've been playing good football and I don't think the one loss will turn into a habit. For us, it was just a hiccup - I don't think the result was a reflection on the football we played."

Meanwhile, Dome expects the club to schedule NZ home games in February or March, if the trans-Tasman bubble remains stable.

For now, the Phoenix remain at Wollongong and although the club has picked up some trusted locals as new fans, the prospect of playing in Wellington or Auckland remains exciting for the squad.

"The only thing we dearly miss is playing at home, sleeping in our own beds and preparing for a game in Wellington," Dome told SENZ.

"Having our fans supporting us... I think it makes a massive difference having that 12th man there, but this club is resilient, and hopefully we can push through it and get the results."