Despite a perfect start to the A-League season with two wins from two matches, Mariners Head Coach Alen Stajcic is in no danger of getting carried away by the results.
Staj spoke on Thursday after Marco Ureña, Michal Janota and Stefan Jankovic joined their new teammates at training, and said the team does not feel any pressure from being high up the ladder so early in the season.
“I’ve got a pretty long memory and know where the club has been and even where we were last year,” he said.
“So, I’ll be the first one to not get carried away, but the thing that it does do is just add those droplets of belief and confidence which are probably some of the most valuable assets you can have in an individual and a team, but we definitely know there is a long way to go.”
“We’re not going to rest on our laurels and think that [because] we have played two good matches and picked up two good results that the job is done.”
— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) January 12, 2021
“There’s still over 20 matches left in the season and we know how hard we have to work in each match to attain that same level.”
The Mariners will have had a 16-day break between matches by the time Tuesday’s game rolls around, with postponements against Brisbane and Melbourne Victory widening the gap since a 2-0 triumph over Macarthur in Match Week 2.
But the boss is not concerned, with the staff instead just looking at the break as extra time to prepare for Western Sydney.
“In a 14-week pre-season you get good practice at being able to stretch out motivation and planning,” he laughed.
“You almost have to press the reset button and get through that dreary period where you’re just preparing for the next match and it’s some time away, but the boys have shown a good resilience to be able to do that so I’m comfortable that it has just been a good preparation time leading into the Wanderers match.”
For Western Sydney, they will be experiencing the short turnaround that Stajcic’s side had between their first two matches, with less than 72 hours separating full-time in the F3Derby and kick-off against Macarthur earlier this month.
The Wanderers shared points with Sydney FC in the Sydney derby on Saturday night, and will turnaround quickly for Tuesday night’s game.
It will then be the turn of the Mariners though with just Wednesday and Thursday to prepare for Fridays’s outing against Sydney FC at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
“I thought the boys showed amazing fitness in that turnaround, because it was basically the same squad that backed up, and we’ve got a similar tight turnaround [this week],” Stajcic said.
“It’s really tough physically, but the fact that the boys have a good base of fitness shows that they can back up.”
“[And] now mentally we know we can back up and have the confidence, and to know that the pre-season regime really helped us be able to perform and a lot of the comments from the boys were that they actually felt better after game two than game one.”
Tuesday’s clash with Wanderers will kick off at 7pm, and you can find information here on how to stay COVID-safe at Central Coast Stadium.