Moss confident struggling Mariners can turn it around

Besieged Central Coast coach Phil Moss is confident his side’s fortunes will turn in time for the club to make a serious play for the Hyundai A-League finals.

The Mariners have slumped to eighth on the table with just one win for the season after being hammered 4-1 by league leaders Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Saturday night despite dominating possession.

Central Coast last tasted victory in the opening round of the season and currently sit five points adrift of the top six ahead of vital clashes with Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney and Melbourne City in the next fortnight.

Moss’s position will remain under threat if his side cannot take maximum points from at least two of those clashes, but the coach remained upbeat about his and the team’s prospects for the rest of the campaign.

“There’s 48 points left to play for so there’s absolutely no thought of missing the top six at the moment,” Moss said.

“We’re just searching for our first win and once we get that, I’ve got no doubt we’re capable of going on a run.

“We’ve got quality footballers at our club, we’ve got quality people, honest footballers who work hard for each other and it will turn, I’ve got no doubt.”

Moss was at a loss to explain the 4-1 scoreline at the end of Saturday night’s match despite the Mariners having more possession (56%) and creating more chances (11 to Glory’s nine) than the winners.

“The way I look at the goals, it pretty much sums up Perth’s season and our season at the moment,” Moss said.

“Every mistake we make costs us a goal and every time they get a chance they tend to score a goal. We gave away four soft goals tonight, there’s no doubt about that, because it wasn’t from them tearing us apart structurally or playing through us.

“I’m really proud of the way we played tonight with the ball, but we have to be more aggressive in the top third in front of goal and we have to be more aggressive in the back third to make sure we’ve got that killer instinct at both ends of the pitch because we’re playing some great football through the middle of it.

“Certainly I’m not disappointed with the way we played tonight with the ball. I’m just disappointed that the concentration levels in those key moments led to us giving away sloppy ball, defending poorly and giving away those four goals.”

The Mariners look set to lose full back Michael Neill for an extended period after he suffered a serious left foot injury during an accidental collision with his team’s goalkeeper Liam Reddy.

Neill had to be helped from the pitch and was immediately taken to hospital for scans, but it is not yet clear whether he has sustained a fracture or serious tissue damage.

It is a major blow for a team still searching for their second win of the season, however, vice-captain Nick Montgomery is set to resume from a calf injury for next Saturday’s home clash with Brisbane.