Central Coast Mariners coach Tony Walmsley has hailed the influence of Luis Garcia after watching his star import play a major role in just their third win of the Hyundai A-League season.
Garcia entered the fray at half-time against Wellington Phoenix and within eight minutes had scored his side’s first goal with a cheeky back-heel and laid on another for kiwi fullback Storm Roux.
Walmsley was delighted with Garcia’s impact in the 3-1 victory.
“What can you say? He’s a very clever player. His impact was unquestionable,” said Walmsley.
“You look at your bench and suddenly you’ve got a player of his capability and it makes making changes that little bit easier. He knows where space is, he’s got pictures in his head all the time and he sees things that average players don’t typically see.
“He had no option other than to do what he did to score his goal and he was perhaps the only player on the pitch who could have done that in that moment. To then set up Storm Roux for his first goal of the year was great.”
“He played a different role for us tonight. We played him as a false nine and he had the freedom to drop into pockets. He already had a goal and an assist before he really got into the tempo of the game, but that just shows the quality he’s got.”
“We’re helping him back into the game in many ways but he’s helping us so much more in return with the impact he’s having with the players on the training pitch, on and off the field and around the team hotel. He’s got words of wisdom from many years of high level experience,” said Walmsley.
The Central Coast Mariners mentor also revealed the 3-3 draw with Melbourne Victory earlier in the season taught them lessons that helped them secure all three points in Christchurch.
“There were elements at 2-0 up that felt a little bit like when we were 3-0 up against Victory. Things were coming at us in waves (tonight) and we’re looking from the sideline and asking (ourselves) what have we learnt from that experience? We defended resolutely under a lot of pressure and I’m really proud of that.”
The Mariners next face Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium next Saturday.