Merrick lambasted his side for their first loss against the Mariners in their last 10 F3 Derbies, admitting the result was a personal loss, as well as a professional one.

But it wasn't only his team that caught a jab.

When asked whether Daniel Georgievski had taken responsibility for a foul that disallowed Roy O'Donovan's equaliser, Merrick still had enough pent-up sardonicism for a wry attack on the culture among modern footballers, even it was tongue in cheek.

"You obviously don’t know football players, it’s never their fault," Merrick said sarcastically.

"The referee was right, it was a re-take. We had another chance to get a draw and I don’t blame Roy, I think he’s had a terrific year.

"It was just one of those things and it shouldn’t come down to that."

The home loss, in addition to Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne City's wins, leave the previously on-fire Jets with a mountain to climb over their remaining five fixtures to make finals.

"It did hurt," Merrick said. "It was a credit to the Mariners, they’ve been through really tough times and it’s a credit to them and coach Alen Stajcic.

“We let our fans down, it was a really poor performance."

Most troublesome for the experienced gaffer was his side's inability to follow their gameplan.

The disgruntled coach seemed exasperated that his side allowed Central Coast to affect the strategy, he believes, they knew they'd play with.

"We knew how they would play, we knew that they’d play a tight, compact, counter-attacking style," he said.

"We played too many long balls, the second ball didn’t come to us, our final pass wasn’t high quality, we didn't pass through the middle...

"Yet we still had chances and didn’t put them away. We didn’t stick to the gameplan. We can’t play like that and expect to get into the finals.

"Then they score three goals, including two in a few minutes, that was very slack on our behalf. Playing for 15 minutes at the end of a game and relying on a penalty to get a draw isn’t good enough."

While seventh-place was nearly unfathomable after narrowly missing out on the Championship last season after a Grand Final loss to Melbourne Victory, Merrick hasn't given up hope.

Until Saturday's loss, the Jets were on top of the table for 2019 results and could still usurp an Adelaide United side mired in a coaching contract dispute.

Merick added: "We’ve got five games left and we’ve got to win three.

"It’s not easy, but it’s possible."