The lessons continue for the Central Coast Mariners and coach Alen Stajcic, who believes the team showed plenty of promise after a “hard week.”
The Mariners picked up a shock win in Perth, after the bye, before coming to Melbourne where they were defeated at the hands of Melbourne City.
Two second half goals sealed the win for City, who remains undefeated and on top of the table after five rounds.
Despite the loss, Stajcic was pleased with the performance and believes his players will take plenty out of the last week, which included significant travel.
“It’s [been] hard week for us, I know [City] had a short turn around but they didn’t have to travel,” he said.
“We had a two-and-a-half-hour bus trip to Sydney, a five hour trip to Perth, three hour time-zone change then back across to Melbourne, we haven’t been home for a week.
“When you compound that with the short turn around its hard, it was the same starting eleven that started the match and it’s a lot of effort that they put into the match both attacking and defending even in the last 15 minutes we pressed well, we pinched the ball of Melbourne City plenty of times up high we should’ve scored a couple.
“In terms of that we couldn’t have had a tougher challenge – to come away with three points [in the last two weeks] obviously everyone wants four or six but I think we’ve done well, but we’ll learn a lot and get better as the year goes on.”
The Mariners’ starting line-up featured eight new faces from last season – Tommy Oar, Jack Clisby and Kye Rowles the only survivors – with Stajcic making 12 new signings in the off-season.
While the result did not fall their way at AAMI Park, this isn’t to say they didn’t have their chances.
Milan Duric had the best of the opportunities while the game was still in the balance, failing to generate enough power in his 55th minute header from the six-yard box to trouble Dean Bouzanis – resulting in City going up the other end and scoring.
“We had six or seven chances there where we should’ve scored and brought the game back level at different moments and I’m sure the scoreboard and game would have changed momentum in that period if we had put them away.,” Stajcic said.
“Goals change games and momentum and I think that was the case tonight, I don’t think they were that much better than us the scoreboard wasn’t an accurate reflection at 3-0 but in saying that I think they were the better team.
“It’s been six-or-seven matches into the season, if you count the FFA Cup and we’re not going to take a backwards step against anyone, it didn’t quite come off tonight but it wasn’t necessarily an open play.
“I thought we matched Melbourne City, but I think they just had a bit better control of the ball for longer periods than we did.”
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