Mariners coach Graham Arnold has sounded an ominous warning, claiming his side are still a work in progress despite thrashing Sydney FC 7-2 on Saturday night.
Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold has sounded an ominous warning to the rest of the A-League, claiming his side are still a work in progress despite thrashing Sydney FC 7-2 at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night.
Daniel McBreen netted a hat-trick and Tomas Rogic claimed a brace as the Mariners ran rampant against Sydney, who were without marquee man Alessandro Del Piero through injury.
It was quite a contrast to Central Coast's previous attacking display, when they battled to a 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart last Sunday.
"I felt that performance was coming on Thursday," Arnold said.
"The way they trained Thursday was nearly the best I have seen since I have been at the club and you could see the focus was there.
"It's a new system and still a work in progress. I think that we can better in transition to attack. We worked hard on that this week. The way I tried to build our new system is always about our defensive structure and our defensive structure is always about transition to attack.
"With that system we have got an extra striker and we are trying to take a bit of workload of Tommy (Rogic) to give him more power when we get the ball.
Despite the 'work in progress' remarks, Arnold said he felt his side could have won 10-3.
"It was a really open game," he said.
"I thought we had more chances we could have converted. And they probably had more they could have converted as well.
Arnold praised all aspects of the club, from the fans to the office staff, but also made special mention of McBreen, who struck the first hat-trick in Mariners' history.
"It's fantastic for Macca ... We have changed his training loads and how we work with him because he is such a hard worker," he said.
"Even at training he gives 110 percent and he has been guilty himself of working that hard at training when Saturday comes he is a little bit down.
"He's 34 and we have lightened up the training loads enormously to keep his feet fresh and his minds fresh. I think you can see he is getting the rewards from it.
According to Arnold, the effort put in during mid-week by McBreen and his colleagues showed in their performance on Saturday, and the coach urged his players not to rest on their laurels.
"I just said to the boys tonight they have set their own standards - don't let them slip," he said.
"It's only the fifth round and there is a long way to go - don't get carried away because everyone is coming after us.
Discussing the absence of Sydney FC superstar Del Piero, Arnold added: "As I said to boys the whole week, 'I don't care what players Sydney FC have got in their dressing room ... It's about us and what we do. We will have a plan if Del Piero plays and if he doesn't that's life and I will always judge us on our performance not what the opposition do'."