They say winning breeds confidence and nothing could be more true for the Central Coast Mariners.
Little over a month ago the Mariners were battling to stay in the A-League’s top-six having lost four matches on the trot, then rounded out what was a torrid February with defeat in their opening Asian Champions League game.
It was the one of the worst runs of form in the club’s history and had critics writing off their chances of an A-League title defence and holding little hope of progression to the ACL knockout phase.
Now sitting second on the A-League ladder having won four of their past five games, and going top of their ACL group after a second victory, the Mariners have well and truly turned things around.
A Macel Seip strike ensured a 1-0 win over Beijing Guoan at Central Coast Stadium on Tuesday, lifting them into top spot in what is a tight group.
With their next match also at home against FC Seoul before travelling to play their last group match against Sanfrecce Hiroshima, the Mariners are well placed to advance to the knockout stage.
Coach Phil Moss feels they’re exactly where they want to be.
“That’s now Sanfrecce and Beijing we’ve beaten at home and as I’ve always said you’ve got to win your home games,” he said.
“So we’re on track for where we want to be.”
With their next ACL game two weeks away the the Mariners must now turn their attention to the A-League where only two games remain before the finals.
They travel to Perth this weekend with their final game away to premiers Brisbane as the battle for second spot is set to go down to the wire.
But far from seeing the demands of juggling the ACL with the A-League as a hindrance, Moss feels it’s the exact reason his side are now hitting their straps.
Moss says victories over Japanese champions Sanfrecce and Chinese giants Beijing have spurred his charges on domestically.
“I think mixing the ACL with the A-League we’ve really learned some valuable lessons,” he said.
“I think it’s really helped our campaign in the A-League this season because it freshens the mind when you’ve got other teams to focus on and analyse.
“When you’re beating top teams from Asia it really gives you the belief to go forward and win things in the A-League.”