Central Coast coach Phil Moss slammed his players for not being “up for the fight” after they squandered a chance to consolidate second spot on the A-League table.
The Mariners looked sluggish as they crashed to a shock 3-1 defeat to lowly Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Saturday night despite going into the match in red-hot form.
The defending champions had won five of their last six matches across all competitions, including a 1-0 win over FC Seoul in the AFC Champions League last Tuesday, but must now overcome premiers Brisbane Roar and hope Melbourne Heart can upset Western Sydney to claim the vital second seeding for the finals.
Moss refused to offer excuses during his post-match press conference, rejecting claims a disrupted flight to Perth on Friday had distracted his side.
The Qantas flight which the Mariners were one was forced to stopover in Adelaide due to smoke in the cabin and the club subsequently cancelled a training session in Perth later that afternoon.
“At the end of the day if you’re not up for the fight from the start of the game, it makes it hard and you’re really climbing a mountain,” Moss said.
“Everyone knows what we’ve had lately, but there’s no excuses inside our dressing room. We’ve just had a word in there and everyone is prepared to look in the mirror – and not the rose-coloured mirror – which gives a true reflection.
“There’s a lot of pride in that dressing room and there’s a lot of pride that’s hurting at the moment because we know we’re much better than what we showed tonight.”
Central Coast will also have the luxury of only having to prepare for one match this week and Moss is confident his side would bounce back against the Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
“We’ve had some great battles with Brisbane up there over the years and I’m sure next week will be more of the same,” Moss said.
“I know (Roar coach) Mike Mulvey will have side fired up to go into the finals with some momentum and we’ll be looking for a reaction from (our players) because we know what quality we’ve got in our dressing room.
“Tonight was a wake-up call for us and probably came at a good time for us going into the finals, but we need a reaction next week and I’ve got no doubt we’ll get it.”
Kim Seung-Yong suffered a hamstring injury against the Glory but Moss said the injury was only minor and he was optimistic the Korean midfielder would be available for the Brisbane clash.
If he is ruled out, Glen Trifiro and Marcel Seip are waiting in the wings.
“There’s a lot of competition for places and obviously on that performance tonight, there will probably be a few nervous boys this week as to whether they keep their spot,” Moss said.comments