Melbourne Victory head coach Ange Postecoglou says he has no sympathy for January transfer victims the Central Coast Mariners.
Postecoglou’s side will host Central Coast in Launceston on Saturday as the Mariners reel from a succession of stories this week linking their players to moves abroad.
But Postecoglou believes interest in the likes of Tom Rogic, Mat Ryan and Bernie Ibini is a sign of Central Coast’s good form, with Victory’s coach ‘bemused’ at the sympathy being shown to the league-leading Mariners and their head coach, Graham Arnold.
“There are a lot of bleeding hearts out there feeling for a team that’s top of the table and have been top of the table for quite a while, not just this year,” Postecoglou said at Victory training on Friday.
“I don’t know, everyone’s got sympathy for them, I don’t.
“They’re doing a pretty good job, if they lose a couple of players, so be it.
“They’ve done that before and recovered.”
Rogic is the only Central Coast player linked with a move abroad who will not be available for the trip to Tasmania.
The 20-year-old playmaker, who is still serving a suspension for the red card he received against Sydney FC, is on trial with Celtic, but Postecoglou still expects the Mariners to be ‘a tough nut to crack’.
“This is a competitive, ruthless business we’re in, so I don’t feel sorry for anyone,” Postecoglou said.
“I hope they do lose players, at the end of the day that’s the nature of the game.
“We lost a player (Gui Finkler with a knee injury) last week … but, you know, I haven’t checked my mail but I haven’t got any sympathy cards yet.”
Postecoglou and Arnold’s rivalry has developed over the past two seasons as Brisbane Roar and Central Coast battled for A-League supremacy.
While there is plenty of respect between the two, there is also some spice, with Arnold claiming last year winning the Premiers Plate had ‘more value’ than Brisbane’s Grand Final triumph under Postecoglou.
But Postecoglou clearly rates Arnold’s achievements with Central Coast.
“I’ve never seen so much crying over spilt milk over a team that’s top of the table in my whole life,” Postecoglou said.
“I tell you what I’d do if I was the Mariners.
“I’d bank the money, some of it, pay of our debts and the rest I’d pay Arnie and his coaching staff a big fat pay rise and tell them to keep doing what they’re doing.
“They’re going alright.”