AFC Cup: Mariners to host Stallion Laguna

A-League champions Central Coast Mariners have put AFC Cup opponents Stallion Laguna on notice, saying they intend to “score a lot of goals” in Gosford on Wednesday night.

Desperate for victory after a first-up 1-0 Group G loss to Malaysian outfit Terengganu, the Mariners won’t show any mercy to their Filipino opposition at Central Coast Stadium.

“It was a game we dominated (in Malaysia), we just couldn’t score,” Mariners captain Danny Vukovic said.

“I’d be worried if we weren’t creating chances and losing games, but we created enough to win a couple of games.

“(On Wednesday) night we’ve got a chance to put things right and score lot of goals.”

The Mariners players have the added incentive of impressing new coach Mark Jackson, the 45-year-old Englishman who was last week named as the successor to departed title-winning mentor Nick Montgomery, who is now in charge of Scottish club Hibernian.

“Mark’s done great job since he’s come in,” Vukovic said.

“The level at training has lifted, the intensity and the quality has lifted – that’s what we’ve needed.”

Jackson said despite it having been a “crazy time” since his arrival in Gosford, the Mariners squad had been “fantastic”.

“Their response to what I’ve tried to introduce in a short time has been really good and positive, and that’s all I can ask for in these early stages,” the former MK Dons manager said.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the team.”

Jackson said the Mariners had no choice but to “evolve” under his guidance.

“We have to move forward In football if you stand still for a moment, people will catch up with you,” he said.

“We have to look to evolve, and move forward on the success that the club had last season.

“There’s a pressure in that. I enjoy that type of pressure. I thrive under pressure and that’s how any footballer should be, and any coach as well.”

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