Sydney FC coach Steve Corica acknowledged his side put in a “poor, poor performance” in the first half but was pleased the Sky Blues responded to win 2-1 at Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.
The reigning Premiers started slowly and found themselves behind against the winless Mariners after ex-Sydney FC forward Matt Simon opened the scoring.
But an Adam Le Fondre penalty - his sixth goal in as many Hyundai A-League games - on the stroke of half-time helped Sydney settle before Brandon O’Neill's second-half stunner secured the three points.
Corica was the first to admit that his team had struggled but took positives in the fact they were able to fight through a difficult period and win.
“We started slowly. It was just a poor, poor performance in the first half. The boys knew that - I told them at half-time,” he said.
“It’s just one of them things. Last week, we played well, we got nothing out of it.
“Today we didn’t play well. Second half was a little bit better but we come away with the three points.
“Fantastic goal by Brandon O’Neill which is great and Adam keeps scoring, which is good as well.”
Asked to elaborate on what went wrong, Corica said Sydney FC hit far too many long balls in the first 45 minutes.
“We didn’t get the ball down at all in the first half,” he added.
“Everything was going long and we didn’t pick up any second balls and we have to do a lot better.
“The second half was better, once we got the ball down.
“I think the wind caused a little bit of havoc as well in the first half, either the wind or ‘Simmo’ [Simon], I don’t know which one it was.
“Second half was better. Once we started to play football, we looked a lot better team.”
Corica also took heart in the fact Sydney FC won in Gosford.
“This place is not easy to come to and to win, even though they’re down the bottom,” he said.
“Last year I think we lost here and had a draw so it’s great to get a win here.”
The Mulvey view
Central Coast Mariners coach Mike Mulvey was dejected but proud of his players and said recent performances indicated things were on the up.
“I’m not happy because we lost because that’s the only emotion that really matters right now,” he said.
“People are looking at where the Mariners are right now, bottom of the table, lost again, but if you dig underneath that, we’re on the right track.
“I thought we played some really good stuff today.
“We took it to Sydney, we took it to Perth last week, we’re competitive.
“We’re still blighted by some mistakes that cost us and today we lost to a penalty and a 35-yard bomb.
“The first thing we need to do is make sure we don’t lose the belief, which we haven’t done.”