A 3-0 loss to Western United in Geelong on Sunday was a bitter pill for Alen Stajcic to swallow, especially after his team’s extraordinary win against Victory the week before. Whilst the Central Coast dominated possession and shots on goal, they couldn’t match the attacking ferocity of Western United, a major point of frustration for the Mariners’ Head Coach.
“They had 8 or 9 actions and could have scored 5, and we had 40 actions and maybe looked like scoring once or twice. The quality in each significant penalty area was very different today,” Stajcic said post-match.
“We still dominated the game in terms of territory, possession and balls into the box, but that’s not where the game is decided. The game is decided in the critical moments and in the critical moments they were without question significantly better and the score reflects that.”
“We just got punished for individual errors and some poor defending and that’s what happens when you play against the quality team like they are,” he said.
For the Mariners, the 2019/20 season has been a discouraging alternate pattern of wins and losses.
Stajcic’s focus is now on creating a new and positive rhythm that will push the team up the ladder and into finals contention.
“There is a good team spirit, positive relations between the group and everyone works hard for each other, but for us to be a winning club we need to know one win isn’t enough, and we need to build on that and not go two steps forward one step back.”
“I think we’ve shown that we are competitive against any team and if we can string two or three wins together, and I think Perth and Wellington are good examples of that, that any team that gets into that little bit of rhythm can quickly go from the bottom part of the pack to the top three.” He said.
Back-to-back games at Central Coast Stadium over the coming weeks offer the perfect opportunity for the Mariners to kickstart a consistent winning streak, with a home-turf advantage to bolster their strength.
Saturday’s clash with Brisbane Roar will be a test of the Yellow and Navy’s resilience and ability to grow from their most recent performance.
“It’s good to play at home, our record is much better there than it is away this year.” Stajcic said. “We’ve won one away and that was at Perth, but our record at home has been quite strong and we’ve played well.“
“We’ve been in nearly every game at home, that will be a comfort, but you don’t win just cause you play at home. It’s the performance on the pitch that matters - and that’s where we have to improve.”