Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay believes his players need to learn to handle pressure if they are to push further up the Isuzu UTE A-League ladder.
The Phoenix have dropped 17 competition points from winning positions this season, seven more than any other team.
Eight of those dropped points have come against sides which started round 16 in the bottom half of the table.
The latest example of this was last Friday night when the Nix lost 3-1 to the last placed Victory in Melbourne, after leading 1-0.
“I think this group needs to learn to handle expectation,” Talay told media on Friday. “I think that’s one thing we struggle with.
“I thought for 20 minutes we played well against Victory. I thought we dominated with the ball, we had some good moments, we scored a fantastic goal and then after that the expectation rose that we need to go and win the game.
“I think the boys need to learn to handle the pressure; the pressure of trying to be a top team.
“That’s something we’re working with them now with the sports psych because it’s not an execution thing when they go out on the park, it’s more so a mindset thing.”