Arnold pleased with confident Ibini
Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has hailed Bernie Ibini's recent trial in Europe after his brace in the Mariners 5-0 triumph over Wellington.
Ibini slotted home the first and the fourth goals as the Mariners dispatched the ninth-placed Phoenix on Thursday, extending their lead to six points over Melbourne Victory on the A-League ladder.
Ibini, 20, has been in a rich vein of form since his trial with Belgian top-flight side Club Brugge and is set to be a transfer target in the European summer.
"That's what it does (playing overseas),"said Arnold of the confidence the experience has given Ibini.
"He has gone away to a top club and he has performed very well and he has seen that he can handle that level. It has given him a world of confidence.
"You can see it in the way he is playing. When he gets the ball in a position of a one-on-one with a defender he is always having a go."
As well as Ibini's 10-day trial in Brugge, much of his development can be credited to his team-mates, according to Arnold.
"Pedj (Bojic) is very good for him as well, with his energy down the right hand side is a handful," he said.
"It opens up space for Bernie. It was a game plan to attack them (Wellington) wide, I won't say just one side, both sides of the park.
"Josh Rose tonight was fantastic, Mile Sterjovski on the left also. Our wide players were exceptional tonight."
Arnold noted the development of Ibini as a regular goal-scorer as a big positive as the season nears the business end.
"I was very pleased Bernie got on the score-sheet because (Daniel) McBreen has been carrying a fair bit of the weight in scoring goals," he said.
"To get Bernie on the scoresheet and (Mitchell Duke) Dukey coming on and doing it again it was great," Arnold said.
"Our movement of the ball was at times a little slow but overall I was very pleased."
Arnold was quick to quash speculation the side was suffering a slump in the wake of Tomas Rogic's departure to Scottish giants Celtic.
"I know there has been a bit of talk there that we have been down since Tommy Rogic left but if I can just make a statement ... of three games without Tommy, 10 goals scored. (I don't think the influence of not having him) is that big," Arnold said.
"Tommy was a fantastic player and we miss him here but the way (Michael) McGlinchey is doing the job and the way Bernie is doing the job, everyone is covering for the loss of Tommy.
"It's about the structure we can play, it's not so much about the individual brilliance, we have some quality players that can do things when we need it."