Arnold backs Mariners title push

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold believes his blue-collar side have the quality to win the A-League championship and predicts that the third-placed Mariners will improve as the season wears on.

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold believes his blue-collar side have the quality to win the A-League championship and predicts that the third-placed Mariners will improve as the season wears on.

The Mariners have lost just two of their opening 13 games of the season and put in a typically resilient performance when claiming a 2-2 draw against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Thursday night.

After a seven-week break from playing at home, Central Coast now play eight of their next 11 at Bluetongue Stadium, starting with Sunday's clash with top-of-the-table Brisbane Roar.

Arnold believes given that good home run and the improvement the team has taken from playing regularly over the past few weeks, things can get even better for his side.

"You haven't seen the best of these players. We're still a little bit inconsistent. We played great against Perth, North Queensland we had 45 minutes good, against Wellington, we played great, and there will still be a bit of inconsistency," he said.

"You have to remember we had one game in five weeks. I expect as time goes on, you will see much more consistency of the players and you'll see much better performances.

Arnold believes despite his team's reputation as an industrious and honest outfit short on finesse, they can win the championship this season, but says that possibility hasn-t really entered his mind.

"We don't even think about that to be honest but I've seen worse sides (win it). But we are not even thinking about winning the title. I want the players to improve as individuals every week, I want the team to grow every week."

Arnold's faith in his playing group is as much about mindset as it is talent and he think the dressing room culture he inherited from Lawrie McKinna is second to none.

"I've learned a lot about this club in this short space of time I've been here. The mentality of the players and the culture of the players," he said.

"If I give them a lunch off, they stay together. We've got a great team spirit and we can see by the way they play, they all work for each other."

"We have no stars, we have no Archie Thompsons, Kevin Muscats, Melbourne Victory have got all the quality, but we'll roll our sleeves up from the first minute until the 90th and we have a right go."

Arnold pointed to the attitude of the team after the draw with Melbourne as evidence of how ambitious his playing group is.

Midfielder Josh Rose agrees that the players are starting to believe in themselves and that the expectations have been raised from the start of the season.

"Arnie wants us to play good football all the time and so do we. It-s more enjoyable when you play more. We've got to raise that bar a bit more and keep improving every week. If we can do that, we are going to go along way," he said.