“Some players think they are better than they are…and we lose games.”
With all due respect, the Olyroos midfielder looks destined for far bigger things than dead rubbers in front of the sauce bottles. The 20-year-old is still on the books of English Premier League outfit Burnley, and while the bright lights of the EPL might prove a step too far at this stage of his burgeoning career, he has already outgrown Gosford.
O’Neill has a bit of everything in his locker – work rate, technical ability, and real tenacity and steel in the middle of the park. It was all on show tonight, albeit against a pedestrian and disinterested opponent.
The former Matildas manager hasn’t reinvented the wheel since taking over as caretaker – he hasn’t radically altered the style of football or even the personnel.
What he has done is pick these Mariners players off the scrap heap and imbue them with a sense of self-belief. Success will not come overnight for a club so serially under-resourced, but Stajcic has shown enough in his short reign to suggest he is right man to take the club forward.
Whether the funds will be available to turn their fortunes around next season is another matter entirely.