Ahead of the Central Coast Mariners’ round four clash against the Western Sydney Wanderers Paul Okon said his side need to be more “ruthless” in attack.
After three matches (including two away from home) Okon’s side have shown that keeping possession is not an issue and focus now shifts to capitalising on those chances.
Creating chances and using pace to push forward has been a crucial part to the Mariners’ game in the opening three rounds but Okon says that his side need to start putting away their opportunities.
“In attack we certainly have the firepower but there’s been two games now where we haven’t scored and created the chances,” Okon said. “I’d be really concerned if we weren’t doing that but on the flipside we need to be ruthless, we need to convert them and that changes football games.
“It’s important that we keep using the ball well and showing personality when we have the ball,” Okon said.
After a narrow loss against Brisbane Roar at home, the Mariners have worked hard on the training track to rectify individual errors that have let them down in the opening stages of the competition.
“We’ve had a good week of training and we’re disappointed about parts of our game against the Roar which we have tried to rectify during the week,” Okon said. “We know we need to be really alert in all aspects when we have the ball.
“When we don’t have the ball the Wanderers are a top team and we need to make sure we are able to be disciplined and that everyone does their job.
“Concentration and decision making are two key aspects that have lets us down, the players are aware of it and they’re disappointed because we feel that we should have a bit more on the scoreboard to show but that’s the way it works.
“Certainly at this level if you make a couple of mistakes there’s a big chance that you’re going to get punished and that’s really what’s happened to us in the first three games so we need to be on top of that.
Okon, who’s team boasts the best possession statistics in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season also said that team selection will always be based on form, not name.
“For me it’s not about your number, the name on your shirt or the size of your contract it’s about who’s fit, who’s working hard and who shows they want to be in the team and we have some really good young players,” Okon said. “I think the secret is finding the right mix of youth and experience so that everyone out there is 100% committed and 100% up for it because in the A-League you can’t afford to have passengers.
“I think last week everyone saw a glimpse of what Scotty [Galloway] can do and it’s not a surprise to me, moving forward for us he’s a very valuable asset. Traditionally he plays in a fullback position but I’ve also used him as a six with the Young Socceroos and that’s where he came on, on Saturday and did very well.
“He’s definitely in line for a start and I’m sure he will bring something to the team.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 2.Shannon COLE, 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Steve LUSTICA, 8.Dimas (c), 9.Kerem BULUT, 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 17.Artiz BORDA, 18.Robbie CORNTHWAITE, 19.Jacob MELLING, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Shannon COLE (promoted), 19.Jacob MELLING (promoted)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 6.Blake POWELL, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Mickael TAVARES, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 19.Jacques FATY, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 13.Kwabena APPIAH (promoted), 16.Liam ROSE (return from international duty),
Unavailable: 23.Jake Adelson (ACL – indefinite), 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO (quad strain – 1 week)