Covic: No tears for travel-weary Mariners

Western Sydney Wanderers keeper Ante Covic has offered little sympathy to semi-final opponents Central Coast for their busy schedule reiterating the importance of finishing top two.

The Wanderers pipped the Mariners to second spot on the A-League ladder merely on goal difference, earning them last weekend off.

The value of that weekend off was doubled, with the Mariners facing a midweek trip to Japan for the AFC Champions League game against Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Wednesday, while the Wanderers thrashed Guizhou Renhe 5-0 on home turf on Tuesday night.

Mariners boss Phil Moss slammed the schedule after the weekend’s 1-0 win over Adelaide United which means his side will barely have the chance to train before Saturday’s final four clash at Pirtek Stadium.

However, Covic offered little sympathy to the side who defeated Wanderers in last season’s Grand Final.

“That second spot was vital,” Covic told FourFourTwo.

“You hear the Mariners now, talking about how difficult the schedule is, but we were consistent throughout the year and we deserved to finish second.

“If they finished second they wouldn’t have to worry about all the travelling they are doing.

“We were lucky enough to finish in that spot, get the week-off, which was really good for us to freshen our legs and focus on the ACL game but also Saturday.”

The 38-year-old shot-stopper said Central Coast’s travel schedule would tire them out but was wary of complacency in the Wanderers camp given the two clubs’ contrasting preparations.

“We know first hand that travelling, whether it’s China, Korea or Japan, it’s not an easy thing to do,” he said.

“There’s a lot of getting on and off buses, planes, it does tire you out mentally.

“We need to be careful that we don’t fall into the complacency trap. Of all teams, Central Coast is the one team you can’t relax against, you can never write them off.”

Covic was part of the Wanderers side which went down 2-0 to the Mariners in last season’s decider and admitted knocking them out of the championship race would be “sweet” but insisted it wasn’t about revenge.

“Obviously the Grand Final did hurt and gave us the inspiration to make amends, not so much revenge against Central Coast, but the carrot of reaching the Grand Final again and going that step further,” Covic said.

“I wouldn’t say revenge, but it’d be a nice, sweet thing to be able to knock them off.”