McKinna: We know we are a good team

Central Coast Mariners football manager Lawrie McKinna has rubbished suggestions the club had a point to prove in the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season opener against Melbourne Victory, after a much publicized eight-month run without a competitive victory.

Central Coast Mariners football manager Lawrie McKinna has rubbished suggestions the club had a point to prove in the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season opener against Melbourne Victory, after a much publicized eight-month run without a competitive victory.

But after a seven game unbeaten pre-season, the Mariners took that form into round one, to beat the defending champions 2-nil.

"We don-t need to prove a point. The press might think we need to prove a point, but we just need to do what we need to do, and the boys went out tonight to do that for themselves, for the club and for its supporters and members. We know we are a good team, we-ve been a good team for four years. Maybe we-re not flash, but there-s nothing wrong with being solid, and going out and getting results, and tonight was about being solid and getting the result," said McKinna.

"I don-t think you ever get ten out of ten, but it was a good solid performance. We set out to do a job, and we achieved that. Melbourne put us under a bit of pressure in the second half, but we just had to go out and defend, and we did that. The boys were organized and confident in defence.

"It is well documented that in the last six months we weren-t winning games, but I think a lot of confidence came in with that, with people backing each other up. Is coming down here and doing our job ten out of ten? You can always improve, and it-s only one game. We-ve got Newcastle Jets next week and if we get beaten this means nothing, but it-s a great start for the club, and a great boost for the boys- confidence.

"When somebody was in there competing there was always somebody there backing him up, and maybe over the past couple of months that hasn-t been there. Maybe we used to be one out, but tonight if somebody got beat somebody else was in there backing them up.

"I-ve always said we-re a good team. We-re not a team of individuals, we-re a solid team. We-re at our best when we-re working for each other, and tonight we did that."

New signing Chris Doig proved solid at the back as the Mariners held out the dangerous pair of Danny Allsopp and Archie Thompson, rarely giving the Victory strike force an opening.

The former Northampton Town hardman coming off with around 20 minutes to go, but should be fit for next Friday-s blockbuster first home game of the season, against local rival Newcastle Jets.

"His calf just tightened up. It-s more precautionary, but he was solid at the back, him, Wilko, Boogs and Heff all did a great job at the back and he just tightened up, nothing-s pulled," said McKinna.

And Doig-s partner in crime at the back, skipper Alex Wilkinson, was full of praise for the Scotsman.

"Doigy-s a great player, he-s got a lot of experience playing in the top three divisions in England. He-s a great talker, great organizer, and it-s something we definitely needed at the back. He-s definitely helped me out in organizing the boys in front of us. We-ve only played four or five games together so we are still getting to know each other and tonight it worked well. That was the first game of many and hopefully it can continue," Wilkinson said.

"It was obviously great out there. We spoke about it all week and worked very hard on our defensive shape the last couple of days before the game, and it obviously paid off. The boys were very compact and if one man got beaten one was right behind to stop the man coming through.

"A very disciplined performance is the best word for it, and very happy to start the season with three points, especially against the defending champions on their home turf, I couldn-t be happier."

The Mariners first home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season is against local rival Newcastle Jets on Friday, August 14. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.