Okon: Mariners have raised standards for the future

Central Coast coach Paul Okon says higher in-house expectations have set the platform for the Mariners despite their season ending in defeat on Friday night.

The Gosford side created chances and had hope of securing a result away to Melbourne Victory until Besart Berisha’s 79th minute goal decided the AAMI Park encounter.

While his team will need at least one favour to avoid a second consecutive wooden spoon, the Mariners boss believes the construction of a more competitive outfit is already underway.

“The work started when I took over here,” Okon told Fox Sports.

“Gone are the days when the bus pulls into McDonald’s after away trips.

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“We’ve raised the standards. Hopefully our supporters have acknowledged that.

“In the off-season we’ll assess everything, make the necessary changes with the resources we have and hopefully people don’t assign the wooden spoon to us before we’ve even kicked a ball.”

Mariners skipper wins possession against Victory at AAMI Park on Friday night.

Okon applauded the visitors’ approach to the close of their campaign, particularly as the match might have turned out differently had Roy O’Donovan seized a golden first-half chance.

“In the last 20 minutes we fatigued a little bit, we knew that would happen, but I’m really happy for the players and the way they’ve ended their season,” the former Caltex Socceroo said.

“A big effort against one of the best teams in the country. No surprise that we put in a performance like that tonight.”