After his side ruthlessly disposed of Melbourne Victory, Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold spoke of his side's closest challengers
|By HAMISH NEAL
Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has sounded a warning to the Western Sydney Wanderers after his side's 6-2 thrashing of the Melbourne Victory on a wet night in Gosford.
"Our home record is fantastic, so Western Sydney – get ready for Bluetongue," Arnold said.
It was a throw-away line at the end of an eight-minute press conference, but it confirmed Arnold's pride in his team and signalled their intent to hold on to top spot on the A-League ladder.
Coming into the match off a 1-0 loss in Perth, Arnold asked for a reaction from his team and they delivered thanks to a Michael McGlinchey hat-trick, Mitchell Duke brace and Nick Fitzgerald's well-taken strike.
The result means the Mariners have now taken 28 points out of a possible 30 in their home matches this season.
"We wanted to put on a good performance tonight, and we were hot tonight," Arnold said.
"I thought it could have been more.
"If we scored that penalty [which Daniel McBreen missed in the 66th minute] then it was definitely all over.
"The own goal gave them energy and gave them legs to get back into the game."
Arnold was full of praise for hat-trick hero McGlinchey, who continues to impress after many questioned how the Mariners would cope without Tom Rogic.
"We are very happy and lucky we have re-signed him" Arnold said of the 26-year-old.
"I think he is in the best five players in the A-League."
The Mariners will have one light training session on Monday followed by a tactical run on Tuesday to prepare for their first home fixture in the AFC Champions League against K-League side Suwon Bluewings on Wednesday.
Victory coach Ange Postecoglou, meanwhile, has blamed himself and his team after the thrashing.
The result marked a third straight loss for the Victory and leaves them in danger of slipping to fourth spot on the ladder after the weekend's action.
Postecoglou cut a deflated figure as he attempted to explain the four-goal loss.
When given an opportunity to praise his younger brigade, specifically Connor Pain who made his first A-League start, Postecoglou blasted his whole squad.
"No thoughts on Connor Pain. We were poor everywhere tonight, young and old, everyone was pretty poor, beginning with the head coach and moving downwards," he said.
"… We certainly didn't start well, we looked flat when we started and didn't really take the game to them.
"Collectively our defending was very, very ordinary tonight. Against a good side you will get punished like that.
"Individually we defended poorly and lost our battles (one-on-one) and lost our battles collectively.
"We have just to go back to training and keep working hard."