Central Coast Mariners vs. Sydney  7 - 2


Crook begins Sydney repair job

5 November 2012 04:47

Sydney FC coach Ian Crook said he was hurt by suggestions his side stopped trying during the 7-2 mauling against the Central Coast.

Crook is faced with a mammoth repair job to rebuild his side's shattered confidence following one of the darkest moments in Sky Blues history last Saturday night.

The Sydney boss said it would take some time for him to get over the severity of the defeat but hopes the players can use it as motivation for this weekend's clash with Melbourne Victory.

At the club's first training session of the week on Monday, Crook spent the majority of it dissecting the match tape with a handful of senior players.

While admitting much of what they saw was hard to stomach, the players' response would define whether the result was just a hiccup or if it could become a theme of their season.

"It's about being positive and pushing on from here and it's so important you learn from it," Crook told reporters on Monday.

"You can't brush it aside and say it never happened but it's how (you) come back from it.

"It should make us stronger. We need to understand that losing seven is not acceptable but we need to use it as motivation to drive on.

"When I was (first team coach) at Norwich three years ago we got beat 7-1 in the first game and ended up winning the league with four games to go.

"It's something we used as motivation to turn it around and I believe we can do the same here."

Crook said he was unconcerned over reports his job was on the line if the side were beaten by the Victory and was confident they are on the right track despite winning just twice in the opening five games.

The Sydney players have come in for heavy criticism for their performance but the Sydney boss was adamant they didn't throw in the towel late in Saturday's match.

"I saw them in dressing room on the weekend and they were hurting big time," Crook said of the players.

"It hurts me to read people saying they showed no heart and desire. That for me is a cop out and an easy thing to say is they don't wear the shirt with pride. That is far from the truth.

"There was 23 minutes to go when it was seven so if they had showed no heart it could have been a lot worse. We just have to keep driving on."

The Sky Blues should get some respite this week with as many as five senior players in line for a return to the side.

While Alessandro Del Piero is considered a definite starter after missing the Mariners game with hamstring tightness, Socceroos midfielder Jason Culina and defenders Pascal Bosschaart, Fabio and Adam Griffiths could also feature against the Victory.

Culina, who hasn't played a match in almost two years, will have his first run in a Sky Blues jersey on Tuesday in a practice game against Western Sydney and Crook said it will be up to his newest recruit how long he played against the Wanderers.


Arnold: More to come from rampant Mariners

3 November 2012 14:20

Graham Arnold says his Central Coast Mariners are still a work in progress despite thrashing Sydney FC 7-2 on Saturday.

Daniel McBreen netted a hat-trick and Tomas Rogic claimed a brace in the A-League match at Bluetongue Stadium as the Mariners ran rampant against Sydney, who were without marquee man Alessandro Del Piero through injury.

It was quite a contrast to Central Coast's previous attacking display, when they battled to a 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart last Sunday.

"I felt that performance was coming on Thursday," Arnold said.

"The way they trained Thursday was nearly the best I have seen since I have been at the club and you could see the focus was there.

"It's a new system and still a work in progress. I think that we can better in transition to attack. We worked hard on that this week. The way I tried to build our new system is always about our defensive structure and our defensive structure is always about transition to attack.

"With that system we have got an extra striker and we are trying to take a bit of workload of Tommy (Rogic) to give him more power when we get the ball.

Despite the 'work in progress' remarks, Arnold said he felt his side could has won 10-3.

"It was a really open game," he said.

"I thought we had more chances we could have converted. And they probably had more they could have converted as well."

Discussing the absence of Sydney FC superstar Del Piero, Arnold added: "As I said to boys the whole week, 'I don't care what players Sydney FC have got in their dressing room ... It's about us and what we do.

"We will have a plan if Del Piero plays and if he doesn't that's life and I will always judge us on our performance not what the opposition do."


Del Piero in doubt for Mariners test

2 November 2012 07:30

Sydney FC coach Ian Crook will give superstar Alessandro Del Piero every chance to prove his fitness for Saturday's clash with Central Coast.

The Italian has been battling a hamstring injury for the last week and sat out Sydney's final training session on Friday.

Crook has kept the 37-year-old striker in cotton wool for most of the week in the hope he will shrug off the problem and be available for the tough clash with the Mariners.

While the odds of Del Piero starting his fifth straight match appear to be lengthening, Crook remains upbeat and will give the former Juventus star up until kick-off to prove his fitness.

"I'm looking at the positive at the moment, that he is going to be fit," Crook said on Friday.

"He will be given until tomorrow.

"We have rested him up and we are hopeful he will be fine.

"At the end of it, it is a concern (but) he is a good pro and he knows his body.

"We will get medical advice and make that decision (on Saturday)."

Back-to-back wins mean Sydney should be full of confidence for the trip to Bluetongue Stadium but the loss of Del Piero would be a huge blow to their chances against the Mariners.

Graham Arnold's side have started the season in strong form and are unbeaten in their last six games against Sydney.

Already without Pascal Bosschaart, Adam Griffiths, Fabio, Jason Culina and Joel Chianese through injury, Crook admitted his side's poor run of luck with player fitness was frustrating.

"The difficult thing is we haven't been able to put the same side on the park two weeks on the trot for one reason or another," he said.

"Those other five are all progressing well but they certainly won't be available for a few weeks."


Mariners won´t target Del Piero

1 November 2012 08:10

Central Coast will not alter their approach in order to quell Alessandro Del Piero when the Sydney FC star visits Gosford on Saturday.

The Italian World Cup winner has lived up to all the hype early in the A-League season after three goals in his first four games, including a wonderful free-kick against the Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 3.

Mariners coach Graham Arnold sincerely hopes the Juventus legend will line up at Bluetongue Stadium but denied any extra attention would be paid to him.

"I hope he plays. We want to play against him and I expect our boys to rise even more," Arnold said.

"It's a wonderful occasion to have him coming to Gosford, but we'll play our normal game.

"We know he's a fantastic player and we'll keep a close eye on him but there won't be one player that will have a role of man marking him at all.

"It will just be about doing what we do best and doing it right.

"It's more than just about Del Piero. It's about Central Coast Mariners and the way we play.

"But it's great that we are having such a world football star such as Del Piero coming up here to the Central Coast and I appeal to all the Central Coast supporters to get there because it may be the only time you see him at Bluetongue Stadium."

Aside from Del Piero, Arnold stressed the presence of the Mariners' own foreign stars in Michael McGlinchey, Nick Montgomery and Patrick Zwaanswijk, the latter of which he described as the A-League's most successful import.

"I think there's only one other person to have done what Del Piero's doing in Australia and that's David Beckham (in the MLS)," he said.

"But we've got our own 37-year-old in Patrick, who in my view has been the best and most consistent foreigner that's come to the A-League.

"He's been great since he came here and I expect him to be the same on the weekend. And I know Patrick is even looking forward to playing against Del Piero."

Playmaker Tom Rogic could miss the clash for the Mariners after knocks he picked up against Melbourne Heart last Sunday and Arnold said more needed to be done to protect his teen star, who is the most fouled player in the league.

"Tommy (Rogic) is the only Australian number 10 in the whole league and the stats are showing that he's getting fouled more than Del Piero but nothing is being done about it," he said.

A-League table

# Team MP D P
1 27 +20 57
2 27 +26 54
3 27 +3 44
4 27 +1 41
5 27 +4 35
6 27 -2 32
7 27 -10 32
8 27 -15 31
9 27 -9 27
10 27 -18 27
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