Friday, January 25, 2013
Mariners should be favourites: Kosmina
By Liam FitzGibbon
Many consider Melbourne Victory to be A-League title favourites but Adelaide coach John Kosmina is convinced league leaders Central Coast deserve the tag.The Mariners secured some breathing space on top of the competition ladder with an impressive 3-1 win over the Reds in Friday night's top-of-the-table clash in Gosford.Despite taking an early lead against the run of play, second-placed Adelaide were outplayed by the Mariners, who stormed home courtesy of an impressive two-goal contribution from substitute Mitchell Duke.It was a performance that left Kosmina in no doubt as to who was the team to beat to the title."They are. After (that performance) you have to say that. They're a good side," Kosmina said."They're good on the ball and they're great physical specimens as well. They're hard, really, really hard."After being held to consecutive draws against Newcastle and the Victory, Friday's win meant the Mariners took a significant step towards back-to-back A-League premierships.But with nine matches still to play, coach Graham Arnold isn't keen to talk about the title race."I don't care about the (competition lead) because next week we've got Brisbane and we've got to turn up and play like we did tonight," Arnold said."For me, it's always about consistency and maintaining your standards."That's why I drive them insane at training, to keep their standards high."I hate sloppiness and the standard of the team can be very high when we play with discipline and to our structure and, when we don't do that, we're just a normal football team."With the club officially bidding farewell to Celtic-bound playmaker Tom Rogic on Friday night, there were plenty of signs to suggest his departure won't hinder the Mariners' title hopes.Michael McGlinchey impressed in the attacking playmaker role and Arnold indicated he could be the long-term option to replace Rogic in the No.10 position."Every time he's played at 10, we've done well," Arnold said of the New Zealand international."He gives you that drive and he's great at finding space in there."Arnold was also encouraged by the performance of Nick Fitzgerald off the bench, following his move from the Roar last week.