Central Coast Mariners have moved quickly to replace sacked coach Mike Mulvey, with former Westfield Matildas boss Alen Stajcic appointed to the Gosford club’s hotseat as caretaker coach until the end of the season.
Mulvey and the Mariners parted company in the early hours of Sunday morning, following Saturday evening’s 8-2 humbling at the hands of Wellington Phoenix.
That result left Mariners, who have won just once all season, eight points adrift at the foot of the Hyundai A-League ladder.
“I would like to thank the Central Coast Mariners for providing me this opportunity,” Stajcic said. “This is a club with a very rich history, which is something that everyone is committed to restoring.
“We’re well aware of the hard work ahead of us, but that starts now. I relish a challenge and can’t wait to get started.”
Stajcic twice won the W-League coach of the year award (2010/11 and 2013/14) with Sydney FC. He takes over with six games of the regular season remaining and his first task will be to lift spirits ahead of the coming weekend’s F3 derby visit to Newcastle Jets.
After that, Mariners get a two-week break ahead of back-to-back home fixtures against high-flying Adelaide United and ladder leaders Perth Glory.
Central Coast Mariners sporting director Mike Phelan welcomed Stajcic to the club.
“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Alen to the Mariners,” Phelan said. “Speaking with Alen and the board, there are two key elements we need to ensure over the next six weeks – that’s stability and harmony.
“Alen is an experienced coach, he has experience at the highest level coaching his country and is held in high esteem for what he achieved on the international stage.
“What we need right now is a manager who can take the helm during a crucial period. We recognise the skills Alen has and the club is confident that he will be able to draw on those skills for the advantage of the Mariners.
“His role is to stabilise, bring everyone together – that includes the players and the staff. He will see us through until the end of the season and help position the football club going forward.
“At the end of the season, we will assess the situation, but Alen’s role at the moment is to generate some momentum leading into the back end of the season – we will discuss the future during that time, and at the end of that time.”