Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Phil Moss says his players have already put their 2014 AFC Champions League exit at the hands of Japanese heavyweights Sanfrecce Hiroshima behind them and shifted their full focus to this Saturday’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final Qualifier against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Phil Moss says his players have already put their 2014 AFC Champions League exit at the hands of Japanese heavyweights Sanfrecce Hiroshima behind them and shifted their full focus to this Saturday-s Hyundai A-League Grand Final Qualifier against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Moss knows only too well the difference in tactics and style between the AFC Champions League and Hyundai A-League, and before his side left Hiroshima on their long journey back to Sydney, Moss explained that his men moved on from their defeat in Asia-s top club competition moments after Wednesday-s match.
“The experience of this week – and indeed our entire ACL and A-League campaign – has certainly galvanised us for Saturday,” Moss said. “Our players turned the disappointment of our AFC Champions League exit into positives moving forward immediately after the game in the dressing room.”
“We were only a deflected goal away from keeping the reigning J.League Champions scoreless at home, so that has filled us with a lot of confidence heading into this weekend-s match.”
“No doubt about it, we-ve now shifted our full focus to what is a fantastic opportunity on Saturday to qualify for Asia again next year,” he said.
Moss maintained that his team would be ready for the battle against Wanderers at Parramatta-s Pirtek Stadium on Saturday night, despite his side only arriving back in Australia from the land of the rising sun at 6:30am on Friday morning.
“It-s well known that the Mariners are at our best when our backs are to the wall,” he said. “I can already see a steely resolve in the eyes of the players to cause what would be a mammoth upset in the eyes of the Australian sporting public.”
“Ours is a group made of stern stuff, and at times like this the true qualities of our unique culture shines through.”
“We are determined to show not just our resolve on Saturday, but also our quality – something which I believe doesn-t get enough recognition.”
“Western Sydney Wanderers will be a tough challenge, of course, but all the pressure is on them as everyone is expecting them to get through and that weight of expectation can be heavy. We-ll turn up ready to play.”
“We defeated Poppa-s [Tony Popovic-s] team in round 25 with a game plan that worked on the night, so we-ll take a lot of confidence from that game into Saturday.”
“Our 2014 AFC Champions League experience has helped develop our tactical options, so we-ll have a number of game plans ready to deploy, and a hungry group of players ready and willing to execute.”
Central Coast Mariners will fly from Hiroshima to Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon, transit to Tokyo-s Narita Airport by bus, then fly overnight to Sydney.
A light training session will be held at Pirtek Stadium on Friday afternoon, before the yellow and navy go head-to-head with the red and blacks for a spot in the 2014 Hyundai A-League Grand Final.
Central Coast Mariners Squad vs. Western Sydney Wanderers: 1. Justin PASFIELD (Gk), 3. Josh ROSE, 5. Zac ANDERSON, 6. Brent GRIFFITHS, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (Gk), Storm ROUX, 17. Anthony CACERES, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Bernie IBINI, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI, 25. Eddy BOSNAR, 26. KIM Seung-yong, 27. Isaka CERNAK, 28. Glen TRIFIRO, 29. Matt SIM *three to be omitted*
In: 6. Brent GRIFFITHS, 27. Isaka CERNAK, 29. Matt SIM (all promoted)
Unavailable: 4. Marcel SEIP (knee – 1 week),10. Marcos FLORES (knee – season), 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY (on loan – Vegalta Sendai), 18. Michael NEILL (knee – season), 23. Adam KWASNIK (knee – season)