Moss: Mariners-Sydney not about the coaches

BY BEN SOMERFORD: There’s been controversy in the lead-up to Graham Arnold’s maiden return as an opponent to his former club but Central Coast coach Phil Moss insists Saturday night’s game against Sydney FC isn’t about the coaches.

Arnold will lead the Sky Blues for the first time at Bluetongue Stadium against his former club when the A-League resumes on Saturday night.

The Sydney boss was centre of attention in midweek, after the Mariners ran a marketing campaign for the match, labeling Arnold “cashed up”.

The Mariners later backpedalled on the promotion after Arnold called it “disrespectful” and claimed it was a personal attack.

Moss, who long served as Arnold’s assistant before taking over following the 51-year-old ex-Socceroos boss’ move to Japan, distanced the issue from the game.

“To be honest, my 100 per cent focus is on my football team and the players,” Moss told FourFourTwo.

“It’s not about the coaches, it’s about getting the game-plan right and making sure the players execute it on Saturday night to get the three points.”

Moss refused to be drawn into discussion on Arnold nor his knowledge of his long-time mentor.

“Every game is about us, not about our opposition, and making sure that we play to our structures and our philosophies,” Moss insisted.

The Mariners coach added he felt the squad he built plenty of momentum prior to the Asian Cup break, with a win and two draws in three games, after going 13 games without a win in all competitions earlier in the campaign.

In fact, Moss claimed the eighth-placed Mariners had the quality to beat anyone in the A-League, hinting at hope of a second-half season revival.

“I honestly believe if we play to our game-plan week-in week-out we’re capable of matching and beating any team in the league,” Moss said.

“We’ve got the quality, we work hard for each other, we play as a team every week, and they’re the key ingredients for building a successful team.”

Moss added he felt the Asian Cup break had come at a good time for the club and believed they would build on their drought-breaking win over Melbourne City.