Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has praised his side for executing their game plan "perfectly' after their 1-0 win against Melbourne Victory.
Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has praised his side for their tactical nous and executing their game plan "perfectly" after their 1-0 win against Melbourne Victory on Sunday put them through to play Western Sydney in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.
The win secures the club a record fourth grand final appearance in eight seasons of the A-League and will see them match up against the Premier's Plate-winning Wanderers on Sunday in Sydney.
A second grand final appearance in three seasons for the came courtesy of a 42nd minute goal to veteran striker Daniel McBreen.
In a match the Mariners dominated -the Victory had no shots on goal in the first half - Arnold was most pleased with the sides defence.
"I thought we won the game from our defensive structure right from the front," Arnold said.
"McBreen and Mile Sterjovski worked extremely hard to try and stop the supply.
"We didn't want the ball to go through the middle.
"We thought defensively if we could make their fullbacks play then that would take Flores out of the game and he wouldn't get on the ball much."
The former Socceroos boss pinpointed the pre-match focus the side had on the Victory's international duo.
"We wanted to try to nullify any type of service to the central areas in behind Archie (Thompson) and (Marco) Rojas were they are lethal," he said.
Despite the focus on Thompson and Rojas in attack the transition to defence for Victory was also a focal point of the Mariners plans.
"It's no secret that with Archie and Rojas are their strengths are going forward but not probably their strengths defensively," Arnold said.
"We tried to say 'OK, with (Joshua) Rose and (Pedj) Bojic, if we can get them chasing us we can take them away from our goal'.
"We know how dangerous they are in transition so we had a plan up our sleeve that if Josh Rose went, either Patrick (Zwaanswijk) or (John) Hutchinson would go out and take over (marking) Rojas or Archie so tactically the boys carried out the game plan perfectly.
"Against Victory when you try to go through the middle they try to pinch the first ball and that's when they are lethal. So it was important that we went wide tonight."
The euphoria of the win was somewhat soured when ex-Sheffield United midfielder Nick Montgomery was sent off in time added on for a second yellow card offence.
Arnold named Oliver Bozanic and Anthony Caceres as possible replacements for the 31-year-old with Nick Fitzgerald also thought to be an option.