Mark Jackson: “Motivation is really high” ahead of Odisha clash

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Mark Jackson says his squad’s motivation is high, ahead of their AFC Cup Inter-Zonal Semi-Final second leg against Odisha FC on Thursday evening (9pm AEDT).

The Mariners travelled to India the morning after a convincing 3-0 win over Macarthur on Sunday, and with them they took a 4-0 lead after last Thursday’s first leg at Our Paradise.

Jackson’s side are looking to complete the job and confirm their place in the Inter Zonal Final, where they would face FK Abdish-Ata Kant of Kyrgyzstan who advanced with an 8-1 aggregate victory over Taichung Futuro FC.

MATCH PREVIEW: Mariners looking to seal AFC Cup Inter-Zonal Final Spot in India

Our Football Manager said his side are ready for the challenge in India, after receiving a warm welcome in Bhubaneswar, as they prepare to take on Odisha at the Kalinga Stadium on Thursday afternoon (3:30pm local time, 9pm kick-off AEDT).

“First and foremost it’s great to be here. The travel has gone really smoothly, people have been really welcoming and the hotel is fantastic, so preparation couldn’t have been better so we will be ready for the game.” Jackson said.

“We don’t change our approach. We were happy with the result in Australia but we know we have to approach this game like any other game, take the game to the opposition and go and score goals and be strong defensively.”

“We want to win every game and play our style of football which is attacking, but as of our recent form we have been really strong defensively as well. We know if we have all those elements to our game, if we keep a clean sheet and go out to score goals, we know we will go through to the next round. That is our aim.”

Mark Jackson ahead of Odisha second leg.

Odisha’s star player is former A-League striker Roy Krishna, and they also have former Mariner Cy Goddard in their ranks. Jackson recognises their potential threats but insists the Mariners are well prepared for that after dealing with it in the first leg.

“They’ve got some dangerous players, they can cause problems with how they move around the pitch so we have to be ready for that,” Jackson said.

“In the first leg we coped with that very well and we have to continue to do that,” he added.

“We know that coming over to Odisha, the fans will be behind the team and playing in the middle of the afternoon, it’s going to be challenging conditions but we’re used to that in Australia.”

“We know [Odisha’s] team is going to be motivated to get the result, so we have to match that intensity but our group of players have have been doing that for a long time now, the motivation is really high.”

Mark Jackson on the squad’s mentality.

“We know they have dangerous players all around. It’s hard to prepare for that sometimes, when a team is unpredictable in how they move, but we have a plan for that.”

Jackson finished by confirming the absences of Storm Roux and Jacob Farrell for this clash, and reinforcing his belief in the players who are going to come in and the wider squad he has at his disposal.

“Storm Roux and Jacob Farrell have not traveled with the group, so are missing from the game. But we have a strong squad and the players that are going to come in are really looking forward to the challenge, and want to use this as a platform to stake a claim to be in the starting 11 week in, week out,” Jackson said.

“We are confident in the players that are going to come in and we believe in the squad,” he said.