Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold was very proud of his players after they produced his first win in his first match in the job.
The former Socceroos assistant took over from Lawrie McKinna during the off-season and for the second year in a row, the Mariners came to Melbourne in the opening match of the season and got the job done.
This time, however, they were up against new club Melbourne Heart who were expected to play a very attacking brand and although at times they looked dangerous, the Mariners defence ultimately won the game for the Gosford club in the 1-0 result.
“I’m very, very proud of the boys,” Arnold said after the game. “I gave them a nine out of ten for their defensive work but only gave them a six out of ten for when we had the ball. I felt that the first half we played very well, played good football but we didn’t continue it second half and gave away the ball too cheaply at times even though we looked dangerous on the break. I want better and they can do it and I’ve seen them in training do it and they know it as well. It’s a very positive start.”
Arnold admitted that his side came up against the Heart at a good time as it was just their first game after being together for less than a month.
“I think that we’re a little bit lucky because we caught them in their first game. With the quality of footballers they’ve got, I know what (Heart coach) John (van ‘t Schip) wants to do,” he added.
“John has said publicly he has had only had them for three weeks. That’s not much time. When you’ve got the calibre of players like (Simon) Colosimo, (Michael) Beauchamp. They’ve got six Socceroos; (Clint) Bolton, Beauchamp, Colosimo, Heffernan’s played for the Socceroos, Matty Thompson’s played for the Socceroos, (Michael) Marrone’s a Young Socceroo, (Gerald) Sibon’s a Dutch national team player. The calibre of those players, it’s only going to be a matter of time.”