Central Coast skipper John Hutchinson has praised his side for their reaction after two draws to open the Hyundai A-League season.
Central Coast skipper John Hutchinson has praised his side for their reaction after two draws to open the A-League season which had the reigning title-holders off to a slow start.
Speaking after their 1-0 triumph over Adelaide on Saturday evening at Gosford-s Bluetongue Stadium, Hutchinson admitted coach Graham Arnold was furious during and after the side's 2-2draw with Melbourne Heart in round two.
Veteran Hutchinson noted the team's connections in attack were yet to fully develop but lauded their central defensive pairing of youngsters Trent Sainsbury, 21, and Zac Anderson, 22.
The locals' first clean sheet of the season came as they wasted a host of chances at the other end of the park after a second minute goal to Nick Fitzgerald.
"I thought we needed a reaction from last week," Hutchison said.
"I know the boss wasn't very happy, at half-time or full-time, even though we got a point in the end.
"He wasn't happy with our effort or our desire, our work-rate.
"That hurt a few boys in the change room, including myself."
Having a week to mull on Arnold's thoughts had the desired affect according to Hutchinson but there is room for improvement.
"(Michael) McGlinchey, (Marcos) Flores and Fitzgerald were fantastic in the pockets. We need to starting finding them," he said.
"Anderson and Sainsbury tonight were magnificent, they stood tall," said Hutchinson of the defensive duo.
"Obviously we didn't control possession, but they had a lot of possession in front of us which isn't going to hurt us."
The impact of 28-year-old playmaker Flores is starting to develop.
"We are still working out Flores - what he likes, what balls he wants to play to players," he said.
"It's coming," said the 33-year-old of the transition out of midfield with Flores often as the focal point.
"It's not where we want it to be, it's definitely a work in progress for us."
Fifty-year-old Arnold echoed Hutchinson's comments in relation to Flores adjusting to his new team-mates.
"That's the first game McGlinchey has played with him. When they get more time on the pitch together they are going to be a lethal combination," he said.
Having Flores 'takes the pressure' off McGlinchey, according to Arnold.
With the imminent return of last season's golden boot Daniel McBreen from his loan spell in China Arnold pointed out the adaptability of his strike force.
"You can play Mitchell Duke at nine and we have taught him in the off season how to play at seven, and you he can play him wide.
"Sterjovski can play both sides. Matt Simon can play up high.
"We have got a lot of options even during the game that we can change things.
"I am always happy when you make chances, we had enough chances to win three games of football tonight.
"The good thing about it was the boys stuck to the defensive structure and stuck to the game plan.
"Even though we were missing chance after chance they didn't lose their concentration and they weren't trying to make up for the missed chances."