De Silva: Okon’s belief is the difference

After a performance that resulted in Danny De Silva’s maiden Mariners goal and man-of-the-match honours, the 20-year-old attacker spoke about the influence of Paul Okon and the excitement of returning to his home town to face Perth Glory.

De Silva made headlines in 2013 when he debuted in the Hyundai A-League as a 15-year-old for Perth Glory and will return to face his former side on Sunday at nib Stadium.

Although the number one priority is success, De Silva said that he is excited to play in front of family and friends in Western Australia.

“Perth is a special place for me,” De Silva said. “It’s where I grew up and it’s where my professional career started so I have a lot of respect for the club for giving me that opportunity.

“It’s probably one of the most exciting fixtures for me personally but I’m at the Mariners and my priority is doing well here so I would love to come home with three points.

“It’s always good to go back to your old club where it all started so I am looking forward to it,” De Silva said.

It took De Silva just two games for the Mariners to again capture headlines and after his wonder-goal against the Wanderers on Saturday he explained the desire he had to find the back of the net.

“I really wanted to score in that game,” De Silva said. “I had a few chances before that, that didn’t come off but I wasn’t about to give up because I really felt like an opportunity would come and if I got another opportunity I wanted to take it.

“I saw that we were on the break from a throw in, I put my hand up and made a forward run in behind the defence. It was a quality run from Hooley and I was able to finish it,” De Silva said

Speaking of the team’s performance against the Wanderers, De Silva said the Mariners deserved all three points.

“I think we should have won the game on the weekend,” De Silva said. “I think we deserved to win, we dominated them in possession but we weren’t able to finish all of our chances. Hopefully heading into Sunday’s game, we will be able to be a bit more clinical.

“Our confidence as a team is growing – working under Paolo the players feel really comfortable playing the way that he wants us to play and we believe in the system which showed on the weekend.

“On Saturday, it was a good team performance but there are always areas that we can work on to become better. We are a good team, we play good football and we want to just keep developing that moving forward,” De Silva said.

When asked about the influence of Paul Okon, De Silva said his belief in the players stood him out compared with other coaches he has worked with in the past.

“I have a good, professional relationship with Paolo,” De Silva said. “I worked with him in the younger national teams and I know he believes in me and I believe in him as a coach and the way he wants us to play.

“Paolo is a great coach, he is doing a really good job with the team so far. His belief in players is what separates him from other coaches.

“Lots of coaches I’ve played under just want to defend and fight, which is important at times but Paolo wants to take the game to teams which is really good and I think we showed that against Western Sydney,” De Silva said.

De Silva is one of 11 new faces at the Mariners this season and he spoke highly of the club’s two Dutch midfielders and Spanish striker.

“Two goals from two games is very good for a striker,” De Silva said. “I really enjoy playing with him [Asdrubal]. He makes a lot of good movement and really works hard for us in the frontline so I think he’s going to be a very good player for us this season. 

“It doesn’t matter who scores, as long as we win the game so I hope that I can help the team score plenty of goals this season.

“We have many great players in our team across the board. We’ve got Tom Hiariej who is great for us alongside Wout Brama holding the midfield. They say the midfield is the heartbeat of the team so they will be key for us,” De Silva said.

Match Details 
Sunday, 22 October 2017
Hyundai A-League Round 3
Match: Perth Glory vs. Central Coast Mariners 
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth 
Kick-off: 7:00pm (AEDT)
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA 501
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #PERvCCM & #CCMFC