Gold Coast gain respect

After a tumultuous week that saw coach Miron Bleiberg suspended and 17-year-old debutant Mitch Cooper bizarrely handed the captain's armband, Gold Coast United won back some respect on Friday night despite going down to Melbourne Heart.

After a tumultuous week that saw coach Miron Bleiberg suspended and 17-year-old debutant Mitch Cooper bizarrely handed the captain's armband, Gold Coast United won back some respect on Friday night despite going down to Melbourne Heart.

Mining magnate owner Clive Palmer's decision to hastily promote assistant coach Mike Mulvey for the game had alarm bells ringing, however Gold Coast, made up almost entirely of youth players, gave fans a glimpse of the future in an encouraging 1-0 loss.

Of the starting 11, only defender Kristian Rees was over 23 years old, but it mattered little as the visitors defended stoutly at AAMI Park, frustrating their far more experienced opponents and almost taking all three points.

"The word we're using at the moment is respectable," Mulvey said.

"We came here with the hope of putting on a good performance and I think we've done that.

"I was asked before 'you're leaving with nothing', I actually disagree with that I think we're leaving with a lot. We've got some performances out of players that will stand them in good stead for the future."

Mulvey, a renowned youth development coach in Queensland was adamant his side played in the correct manner.

"We lost the game today trying to play the game the right way, I'd much rather lose the game that way than lumping the ball up field.

"It's the way we believe we should play football but as you say one slip up and we paid a big penalty for it, we gave a good account of ourselves."

Far from daunted, the youthful Gold Coast outfit set themselves for the Heart match with the belief a first win in nine games was a realistic goal.

"They were so pumped for this game they were ready for it. If you have a strong sense of belief and we gave them that belief that they could actually achieve something today then you can."

"But the end of the day they (Heart) had so much more experience than us and it showed."

"They pushed the ball around they caught us out a few times but if you look at our centre midfield we had an 18 year old, 17 year old and 18 year old, the future looks good."

"We have a very long injury list at the moment and hopefully we get a few of them back but these boys have shown they are more than capable of stepping into their shoes."

With the Hyundai A-League's youngest club seemingly at the cross roads, with a host of players out of contract and youth the only clear directive, Mulvey was resolute when asked about the club's future.

"Three years ago the club started and we started off with an A-League team and a Youth League team and what you've seen tonight is something that's been born in the Youth League that's coming to fruition in the A-league."

"Now the question for these guys tonight was: 'are these guys ready to step up to the next level?' and, if so, could we do it collectively or do we need a few experienced heads in there and I think the answer is probably a mixture of somewhere in between."

"We have some very good experienced players back home who are injured and they'll be heartened by tonight's performance and they'll be looking forward to getting back on the track themselves to be part of what can be a very exciting future for Gold Coast United," he beamed.

Asked whether he had designs on the full-time position, if as rumoured, Miron Bleiberg walks away from the club, Mulvey left the door open.

"I'm an ambitious person I'm also a loyal person. I've worked at Gold Coast for three years, there's no rush."

"Whatever steps I have to take in my career I'll take but this isn't about me it's about these players."

"They went out there and performed admirably tonight, they were playing for their futures as well," he said.