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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Embrace our success: Arnold tells Mariners

By James MacSmith

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has asked his team to embrace the arduous double challenge of an A-League finals campaign and Asian Champions League group matches in the months ahead as they seek to breakthrough for a maiden championship title.

Despite their status as one of the most consistent sides in A-League history the Mariners are yet to taste championship victory and Arnold says he has asked his charges to enjoy the perks that come with their lofty perch at the top of the A-League ladder.

The A-League leaders host the battling Wellington Phoenix on Thursday in the first of a testing schedule over the next three months.

Eight A-League rounds remain before the final series begins in March, while the Mariners are scheduled to play four ACL matches before the A-League grand final on April 20 and two more matches in the 10 days after.

The Mariners faced a similar schedule last year, before falling one game short of the grand final. But this time around Arnold is adamant he has a better and more refreshed side at his command.

"I have said to the boys they need to embrace being on top of the competition," Arnold said on Wednesday.

"It's much better than coming last or fighting to get into the top six.

"We have got an exciting two months ahead of us with the end of the A-League but also ACL and the boys are in great spirits.

"I thought today they trained the house down, they showed they are very fresh and ready to go.

"Last season is history, I think we are a better side than what we were last year, we have much more depth this year.

"We have our destiny in our hands."

Currently sitting on 39 points, three clear of second placed Melbourne Victory, Arnold revealed he has set his team a target of 50 premiership points.

"I have challenged the boys to get to 50 points if we get over 50 points I think we will go close to being the champions again, otherwise it is one game at a time.




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