A 3-1 loss to Melbourne City on Friday night at AAMI Park is far from the end of the world, and Head Coach Alen Stajcic said there was plenty for him to be happy with from the round five result.
Just a few days removed from toppling Perth at HBF Park the Mariners came out of the blocks well before City struck from a set piece, and Staj was confident post-game that some better chance conversion could have changed the game completely.
“I thought Melbourne City controlled the game a bit better there in the first half, we looked dangerous though and had a few good half chances,” Stajcic said.
“Disappointing as usual to concede off a corner and that gave them scoreboard momentum, then they had a solid 20 minute spell in the second half where they controlled the game again and looked threatening in attack.”
“But we had six or seven chances where we should have scored and brough the game back level at different moments and I’m sure the scoreboard and momentum would’ve changed if we put them away.”
With the team coming together properly five rounds in, the boss believes that the foundations are being laid and was proud of the team’s effort across a testing fixture period.
“I’m still proud of everyone’s effort and I know what the boys put in,” he said.
“I’m happy with the week we had, but there’s certainly some learnings for us to take, particularly against a good team like Melboure City.”
“We’re starting to put in principles of how we want to play, I think everyone can see that.”
“I thought they had better control of the ball for longer periods than we did and we still turned the ball over a few times where we could have been more efficient.”
“We played last year’s premiers last week, and the league leaders here so we’re not really going to get a bigger challenge away from home with the travel.”
“To come away with three points we’ve done well, I think we’ve learnt a lot and we’ll get better as the year goes on.”
“There aren’t many boys in this team who played regularly last year, 25 or 26 matches straight.”
“So for a lot of them this is a new experience, backing up week in and week out while maintaining that high standard.
“That’s why I think we’ve got the most potential for growth as the year goes on [in the league].”