‘Pressure is a privilege’ Jacko on Sydney and selection ‘headache’

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Mark Jackson rounded off a busy week of Mariners media, with his pre-match press conference on Friday morning.

With additional media presence ahead of our huge semi-final on Saturday, the Mariners held a bonus presser on Tuesday morning, where Storm Roux and Dan Hall spoke.

Storm Roux: “We’re full of confidence” Roux’s rousing pre-Sydney presser
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Our Paradise was officially sold out by Thursday evening, only the second time in history and almost a year on from the last time, this is the first time Jacko will see his new home ground sold out.

“We knew that would be the case as well. Credit goes to everybody behind the scenes at the Mariners, how they’ve pushed it, how they dealt with the ticket sales and publicity. Credit to the supporters as well for getting out there in their numbers to make this sell out possible.” Jacko said.

As a team we’re really looking forward to it, to play in front of a packed house. We like to play the big games, big atmospheres, and it’s certainly going to be that tomorrow.

Jacko on playing in front of a sell out crowd at Our Paradise.

“It’s massive, it really is. I think the biggest crowd I’ve seen here was New Year’s Eve against Perth. It’s nearly double that, it’s going to be amazing.”

The fans get behind this club, they’re a massive part of the club, they’re the heartbeat of the club.

Jacko on the impact of the Mariners fans.

As always, Jackson refuses to take any sole credit for the success of the season so far and says it has been a ‘massive push’ from all involved at the club.

“This has been a massive push by everybody on the pitch to get to this position. It’s been a massive push by the supporters to get behind us to help us and there’s been a massive push by the staff behind the scenes to help create this event.” Jacko said.

Jackson is sticking by the mantra of ‘beware of the wounded animal’ as he said in his post-match press conference last week, and insists the Mariners will attack this game like any other, despite taking a one-goal lead into the second leg.

“We’re just going to play our normal game. We know Sydney are going to come and bring their game, that high intensity, high pressing game and I know they’re missing a few players but we’ve been missing a few players this year and it doesn’t make a difference.” Jacko said.

They’ve got a good squad, a good way of playing, we respect them fully and we need to be ready for it tomorrow.

Jacko on Sydney.

Jacko has had the rare luxury of a full-week lead-in to a game, something the team haven’t had too often this season with AFC Cup commitments contributing to a schedule more resembling of a European team.

The semi-final second leg will be the 43rd competitive match since our Australia Cup tie with Sydney back in August, whilst Jackson has only had a full week to prepare for a game three times since January, as the AFC Cup knockout stages ramped up in the second half of the season.

But there has been no sympathy, no feeling sorry for themselves, the players have been ‘worked’ in Jackson’s words this week and he says that intensity what they thrive on.

“We’ve worked the players. We said that we were going to right after the [first leg], it’s a bit of an unusual situation for us, having a normal five-day lead in. We’re not we’re not used to that because of the travel and extra games.” Jacko said.

“So we warned the players, we’re going to work hard. But that’s what the players thrive on,
intensity in training. We certainly had that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then we worked from more of a tactical point of view on the last two days.”

“I said that after the game over there, beware of the wounded animal and we are. They’re a fantastic team, like I said, but they’re missing a few players and have got a couple of suspensions in there as well, they’ll be ready to fight to get to a Grand Final. That’s what it is. That’s what’s at stake.”

I would expect every player on that football pitch to be giving everything and to be to be fully at it.

Mark Jackson on finals football.

“It could be the fine details and fine margins that will decide this game and we’re going to be prepared for every eventuality. Then it’s about managing the occasion, managing the game, understanding what it is and and executing our plan, which our players have been fantastic at over a lot of pressure games of late as well.”

“They know how to deal with pressure and I said to them, pressure is a privilege, it means you’re doing something right and people expect from you.”

Finally, Jackson confirmed the return of Miguel Di Pizio who is back in contention after missing the first leg with a knock, and says the Mariners are ‘fully focussed’ on winning the game.

“Everyone’s fit, Di Pizio is back in, he’s trained fully this week. That was the only miss from
from last week so everybody is fighting for that place. Everybody wants to be part of it. Everybody wants to play these big games. It’s a bit of a headache for me but that’s good.” Jackson said.

Everything is fully focused on winning this game. We’ll think about the outcomes of this game afterwards and we’ll deal with whatever the outcomes are. We’re fully focused and putting everything into making this game a success, and then what will be will be.”

You can watch Jacko’s presser in full here, and also read Harry Steele’s pre-match thoughts, childhood Mariners memories and more, here.