Central Coast coach Phil Moss says his side must build on their confidence-boosting win over Adelaide if they are serious about pushing for the Hyundai A-League finals.
The Mariners bounced back from their heavy 5-1 loss to Sydney FC last time out to stun the Reds with two late goals to win 2-1 in Gosford.
Trailing 1-0 with just 11 minutes left, Nick Fitzgerald equalized from the penalty spot before left-back Josh Rose completed a surprise turnaround just four minutes later.
“I think today was about building some pride back in the shirt,” Moss said.
“I sound like I’m talking like Phil Stubbins from last night, but it was the same for us.
“We weren’t happy to cop five goals at home and lose to Sydney, so we worked hard on the mentality of the players between then and now.
“Were we good today? Was it pretty? No. But we found a way to win the game and that shows the mental resolve of the players.”
Moss praised his side’s character for keeping their composure after going behind against a side he rates as “the best football team in the competition.”
But he admits his side must improve in a lot of areas if they are to turn some good recent results into a charge for the top six.
“Today was a crucial win for us…but we need to be better,” Moss said.
“We need to keep the ball better and have better movement but those are things we’ll look at this week and hope to improve against Brisbane.
“Confidence is a wonderful thing in football…a lack of confidence or a lack of belief at times can look like a flat performance but when you get that goal and the crowd behind you, you get a more energetic performance and that’s how we finished today.
“We need to bottle that and take it into Brisbane (Roar) on Friday.”
The Mariners will have new recruit Fabio Ferreira available for that match after the Portuguese winner was forced to sit out this clash due to a “gentlemen’s agreement” between the two clubs.
“I believe he’s got the qualities to be one of the top wingers in this league if he’s not already,” Moss said of Ferreira.
“The energy he has, the speed he has, the actions to get past defenders in one-v-one situations and the fact he’s a quality crosser and gets on the end of things and scores goals.
“I think his record is one goal every 5 games and for a winger that’s very impressive. He’s looked good on the training park. We had to put him into a heavy program to get him ready for the Brisbane game and he’ll be ready for Friday night.”
Moss confirmed striker Mitchell Duke had been the subject of interest from overseas clubs – with scouts from J-League side Shimizu S-Pulse in the stands – but no offer has yet been made to the club.
The Mariners boss also revealed import Richie Vernes was likely to be sidelined indefinitely due to a shoulder problem which is likely to require surgery.