Coach John Aloisi has rejected a suggestion from Phoenix counterpart Mark Rudan that the ageing Brisbane playing roster can be exposed in the A-League.
Aloisi, currently in his fourth year with Brisbane, wants his players to take their minds off a four-match losing streak, try to enjoy Christmas and emerge fighting fit for next week's trip to Sydney FC.
Languishing in ninth place after a dispiriting 4-1 loss to the Phoenix in Wellington on Saturday, the Roar coach conceded Brisbane's supporters have every right to start applying heat.
"The pressure is the pressure that I put on myself," Aloisi said.
"I'm disappointed, of course I am. And as a head coach, you have to always take responsibility and I do.
"But at the moment, we just have to take the emotion out of the game, out of the way we're feeling, because everyone's feeling down."
Injuries are adding to Aloisi's headaches, with wingers Tobias Mikkelson (hamstring) and Henrique (knee) both replaced in the second half.
The pair were among six Roar starting players aged 32 or over, a point Phoenix coach Mark Rudan made to his team when the scores were locked 1-1 at halftime.
"They're an ageing squad with a lot of players over the age of 30 and I knew that we could run them ragged," Rudan said after his team notched three goals in the last 15 minutes.
Aloisi rejected the notion his team are too old, pointing out four of his players were aged 22 or under.
Countering that, three of those four were substitutes, with 19-year-old defender Dane Ingham the only player aged under 25 to start.
"I don't think that was the issue," the grim-faced manager said.
Eric Bautheac, 31, was suspended while fellow-attacking spark Stefan Mauk's absence with a groin problem was keenly felt.
"(Mauk) is a major signing for us. We need him out there, we want him out there but at the moment he wasn't up to playing.
"Then it doesn't help when you have to bring a couple of players off who were actually causing Wellington issues."
Brisbane's defeat was just their seventh in 34 meetings with the Phoenix and was the first time they've conceded four goals.