Mariners stick with style despite losses

Central Coast coach Tony Walmsley says his Mariners side won’t change its bold, attacking style for the visit of Sydney FC this weekend.

The Mariners have recorded back-to-back defeats, going down 3-1 to Melbourne City on Sunday and 2-1 to Brisbane Roar in round two, after a 3-2 season opening victory against Perth Glory.

The Mariners’ play this season has been open and entertaining, with a commitment to attack and taking their opponents on.

But the full-throttle approach has seen the Central Coast caught on the break at key moments.

League leaders, Sydney FC, visit Central Coast Stadium on Saturday but Walmsley has no plans to alter his tactics or youth policy.

The Mariners fielded a back five with an average age of 20 against Melbourne City.

“It's not a concern,” Walmsley told FourFourTwo. “It's an opportunity for the players to develop. As the season unfolds the confidence will grow.

“Our playing style is about entertainment. Why change? Results will come when we get it right.

“Over 30 penalty box entries is as much about converting chances and execution than about tightening up.”

Walmsley said the Mariners would have beaten City last weekend if they were more clinical with the ball.

“We were bold and dominated in the second half without capitalising,” he said.

“We needed to be better in possession in the first half and as a consequence couldn't take advantage of their fatigue late on. It was an entertaining game. The score line could have been reversed.

“We have a lot to work on but every game is a rollercoaster at the moment.”

The Sky Blues have two wins and a draw from the first three rounds, having conceded just one goal in three matches.

Walmsley said the harbour-siders will be confident with their strong start to the season, but his team will aim to pressure their southern neighbours.

“They are a very strong side and very well organised,” he admitted.

“Arnie has put a marker down and they arrive top of the league which is great for the spectacle. They will have confidence and we will try to put as much pressure on them as possible.

“We have every player available this week, which for a small squad is important and we are looking forward to playing at home and entertaining a big crowd.”