Mariners keeping a lid on it
Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold is keeping his side’s feet on the ground after the Mariners moved into second place on the Hyundai A-League ladder just a month out from the finals.
Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold is keeping his side-s feet on the ground after the Mariners moved into second place on the Hyundai A-League ladder just a month out from the finals.
The Mariners capped a great week of football that included a 1-0 win over Wellington and a thrilling 3-3 draw with league leaders the Brisbane Roar with a clinical 2-0 win over the Jets in Newcastle on Sunday to draw level with Adelaide on 43 points and claim second place on the ladder on goal difference.
But far from getting carried away with the fine form of his team, Arnold said there was plenty of work still to be done in the run into the finals.
"It is fantastic (second place) I didn't think at the start of the year we'd be in the top two," he said after the win over the Jets.
"Our goal was top six and it still is top four, but we'd love to give the top two a shake."
"But we have a tough road trip to Perth tomorrow and we have to play in Perth on Wednesday."
"Looking at the boys today, I was thinking beforehand that I can't take all of the players that played today because of fatigue and we can't afford to risk an injury because of all the travel."
"If a player gets a soft tissue injury now he probably misses the rest of the season and there are some players who have played a lot of minutes this year, especially in the last few weeks, so we will have a look to see how things are and how they pull up and I will ask for their very honest answer from the players on how they are feeling."
The Mariners never looked troubled against the Jets, grabbing the lead via lanky striker Matt Simon in just the 14th minute of the game and easily coped with the Jets attack before sealing the match with an 87th minute strike from club stalwart player John Hutchinson, who came off the bench in the second half for the visitors.
"The derby clash is always a big game for the club and the Central Coast region," Hutchinson said after the game.
"And for foundation player it is always a big occasion and it rubs off to the rest of the team."
"But more importantly we got the three points and kept another clean sheet. The first 11 have been outstanding over the past six weeks and I just happy to come on and chip in for the boys."
"We knew what it was at stake and we knew we would go to second on goal difference. They didn't look dangerous and we were comfortable. To be honest I didn't think Newcastle pressed us even after we scored the goal."
"I think the start put us into a false sense of security," Arnold added. "We started really well and Matty Simon got the first goal early. Overall for our third game in a week, with Wellington, Brisbane and then Newcastle here I was very proud of the boy's performance."
"It was a bit sloppy at times but overall you have to be happy with a 2-0 win here in Newcastle."
Arnold admitted that the loss of Jets' skipper Kasey Wehrman in just the sixth minute of the match helped the Mariners chances but said it was a battle of attrition that his side dominated on the day.
"I think it comes with all these midweek games," he said. "They were playing their third game in a week as well and playing in the heat doesn't help, so it was a bit flat but it was the same for both teams."
"With that type of heavy schedule it will take the sting out of the game and it gets down to the battle of the fittest."
"You have to look at Newcastle and they have quite a few injuries and I think Kasey Wehrman's injury sat team on their heels as well - to lose their captain so early in the game."
"He is a real leader and the player that they go through all the time to create their play so it was tough loss for them so early in the game."