Sage backs Mitchell

Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has backed coach Dave Mitchell as the man to lead the club further up the Hyundai A-League table next season after last Sunday's penalty shoot-out loss to Wellington in the second minor semi-final.

Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has backed coach Dave Mitchell as the man to lead the club further up the Hyundai A-League table next season after last Sunday's penalty shoot-out loss to Wellington in the second minor semi-final.

Former Australian striker Mitchell is midway through a two-year contract at ME Bank Stadium, where his tenure for the second season was conditional on taking the Glory to the league's finals for the first time since the new competition started.

Mitchell's position was looking somewhat shaky during the season's middle stages as the club won just two of 13 matches between Rounds 10 and 23 despite the presence of numerous big name signings.

But some quality late-season recruiting helped the Glory finish the campaign strongly before the heartbreaking loss in Wellington.

Although the blogosphere and some Glory fan groups feel the club may have underperformed with the talent available, including Australian representatives Mile Sterjovski, Jacob Burns, Chris Coyne and Daniel McBreen, along with former Blackburn skipper Andy Todd, Sage is adamant Mitchell is the right man for the job.

"The contract we signed with Dave was a two-year contract," Sage said as he arrived back in Perth with his side.

"If he didn't make the finals it would be terminated. He made the finals, it automatically clicked in so he's our manager for next year."

"We didn't have much of a start to the year, they all came late the Socceroos and some of the other players, so you know we played a lot better the second half of the season I think as the team gelled."

"So you can thank Dave Mitchell for bringing that squad together."

"Although we're very disappointed we didn't go further than the finals, I think the soccer public here will prove that the way we did play that last four or five weeks that the side's finally gelled together."

"We're not going to lose virtually many players from that squad for next year, so I think next year's going to be the year that we get into the top two or three."