Central Coast Mariners have not won back-to-back games since December 2017, but coach Alen Stajcic can still find positives with his team after their 3-0 New Year’s Eve defeat against Perth.
The Mariners are in the midst of another mixed A-League campaign, holding their own against Sydney FC, Adelaide and Perth earlier this season.
However, they are yet to break an unfortunate streak of mediocrity, failing to win back-to-back games since December 2017.
Cutting a dejected figure after the New Year’s Eve loss, Stajcic said the Mariners are not far from their best, but need to improve their quality up front.
“As I’ve been saying for a number of weeks now, we’ve laid a really good platform,” he said.
“Today’s a little bit of a blow in terms of result, but for me I still know we’re improving and building. We played against a quality team tonight.
“There’s a lot of confidence that I can take away from that when I know we can compete against a Sydney or a Perth.”
A four-day turnaround into Wellington at Westpac Stadium ramps up the challenge even further.
Phoenix are undefeated in their last seven A-League games.
“We’ve got a tough run, we’ve got Perth and Wellington who along with Sydney are two of the three most in-form teams so it’s a good indicator of where we’re at,” Stajcic said.
“We played Adelaide last week who are third or fourth on the ladder as well.
“We put in some good performances today, the result didn’t really reflect that but I’m still happy with the way we’re progressing.”
Stajcic said he is not thinking about the fast approaching transfer window, insisting he has faith in the squad.
“Like every club, if things pop up where we can improve our squad we will but at the moment I’m really happy with the squad we’ve got, how we’re progressing,” he said.