Head Coach Alen Stajcic praised his side for the way they responded in the second half of last night’s game in Tasmania, but said the Mariners need to ‘adapt and evolve’ as opposition teams begin to approach the team differently.
Connor Pain’s goal early on in the game was the ‘poorest’ the side conceded all season according to Staj, who said the team was not on pace from the outset.
“I thought first half we were pretty poor, we lacked the right amount of intensity to match them physically, a lot of cheap turnovers,” he said.
“I thought the first goal we copped was one of the poorest goals we’ve conceded all year, we were just not really focused in that moment and we gave them scoreboard momentum.”
“They had a few chances first half but we had three or four one on ones but lacked the quality.
“The second half I thought was a lot better, an improved performance, and I thought we started to control the game and the rhythm of the game but lacked that little bit of quality to get the equaliser.”
The Mariners began the second half much more positively than the first and took control of the game, and Staj said that despite the lack of a breakthrough it was a positive to see the team grab the ascendancy.
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“When I know that we can control a game against a team with that much quality, we’re a team with 1/10th maybe of the resources that Western United have on and off the pitch,” he said.
“So for me to know that our boys are fighting so much and improving that much every week and that playing near their peak that we can dominate a team with Diamanti, Berisha, Durante, Uskok, Imai in it, that just gives me great pleasure and I know that we’re on the right track regardless of the result tonight and the performance.”
Staj highlighted the difference in Western’s setup from their previous outing and said his group need to be prepared that teams will be changing to mitigate their strengths.
“They only played with one nine tonight, they played with two nines the other night so obviously a little more of a defensive setup from them,” he said.
“But that’s part of the game, obviously we have to adapt and evolve every week, and I think we have to be honest.”
“There haven’t been many games, many times this season, Melbourne City away was probably the only time we’ve been outplayed throughout a match, so for me the result wasn’t what we wanted [tonight] and certainly the first half performance wasn’t up to our level.”