March 30, 2015 11:28:53 UK
The finals are now beyond them, the wooden spoon is not a factor and interim coach Tony Walmsley wants Central Coast Mariners to take advantage of a lack of pressure.
Their 2-1 away defeat to Melbourne Victory on Friday saw them drop 13 points behind sixth-placed Melbourne City in the chase for the last Finals Series berth.
The crowd numbers are not where we’d like them to be and that starts with playing style.
It means that the club, who won the Grand Final in 2012-13 and finished third in the table last season, have to resign themselves to missing out this time around.
Walmsley’s appointment in place of the axed Phil Moss three weeks ago was always likely to come too late to rescue their finals hopes.
Having only just arrived at the club as technical director before being handed the coach’s job until the end of the campaign, Walmsley has been on a steep learning curve. His view is long-term, as he plots a way for the Gosford club to revive their fortunes.
“The club has had to decide how it plays football,” he said. “The crowd numbers are not where we’d like them to be and that starts with playing style.
“The fans will really love the players getting in the face of opponents and trying to win back possession.”
Walmsley added: “My intent is to ask that question of the players, home and away. This is how the Mariners play now. There’s a peg in the ground…this is how we play.”
The Mariners coach was happy with his team’s performance against Victory, where they took the lead through Isaka Cernak, before Gui Finkler’s superb double won it for the home side.
With their own finals hopes extinguished, the Mariners can deal Brisbane Roar a potentially fatal blow on Thursday when they take on the defending champions at Suncorp Stadium.
Central Coast are 2.00 to beat Brisbane, who are 3.60, with the draw 3.50.
The Roar’s 1-0 defeat away to Melbourne City on Saturday means they are now eight points adrift of John van ‘t Schip’s side with one game in hand.
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