Arnold focused on Mariners

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold see he feels he owes it to the players to put his contract talks on the backburner so he can focus on helping the Mariners qualify for the next phase of the Asian Champions League.

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold see he feels he owes it to the players to put his contract talks on the backburner so he can focus on helping the Mariners qualify for the next phase of the Asian Champions League.

Arnold is widely tipped to be announced as the next coach of Sydney FC after a successful two years at the Mariners.

But speaking after Central Coast's brilliant 5-1 AFC Champions League victory against Tianjin Teda at Gosford on Tuesday night, Arnold said he wants to be in charge when the Mariners play their final pool match against Nagoya Grampus in Japan in two weeks.

Victory in that match could see the Mariners stay alive in Asia's top club competition. Tuesday night's success was Central Coast first ever win in the competition.

"100 per cent, I owe that to the players," Arnold said when asked if he wanted to take the team to Japan.

"I'm flattered with the interest from Sydney but I don't want to take the focus off the players."

While his immediate future is still unclear, Arnold could not have been happier with the effort of his players against Tianjin.

The Mariners went into the match last in their group and needed a win to have any hope of qualifying for the next round of matches.

"It was a fantastic performance," Arnold said.

"It shows what Australian teams can do if they are fresh. It could easily have been 10 goals."

The one low point for the Mariners was a silly second half yellow card to in-form defender Pedj Bojic which rules him out of the next match in Japan.

"He knew he was on a yellow; he's let the team down in my view," Arnold said.

Tianjin coach Josip Kuze was gracious in defeat.

"Central Coast deserved to win with that score," he said.

"We knew it would be difficult; we were tired and they were fresh. The Mariners were very organised and did a lot of running."