Pressure? What pressure?

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The heat was on both literally and figuratively at nib Stadium on Saturday night as Perth Glory played host to Gold Coast United.

The hosts ran out comfortable 2-0 winners on a piping hot December night in front of a poor attendance of just 6,848.

Ian Ferguson and Miron Bleiberg, the respective managers of Perth and Gold Coast, have both been making the headlines recently for the wrong reasons but neither believes their position to be under threat.

Bleiberg in particular has been tipped to exit Gold Coast following a difficult start to the season that sees his side firmly rooted to the foot of the table. However the 56 year old Israeli was quick to dismiss talk over his future in the post match press conference.

“Every few years as a coach you have a year where nothing works for you,” he said.

“This is my year but how the year is ending or whatever, there is no pressure because I am talking to Clive [Palmer, club owner].

“That’s it. Life is as normal. In my case, I think it is an irrelevant question at the moment. Do I want to continue to work with these youngsters? Yes. Do I believe that we can turn the corner? I believe that we can do it this year.

“There’s no pressure, nothing.”

United have struggled lately with injury and were without the likes of Peter Jungschläger, Paul Beekmans, Joel Porter, and the outcast Brazilian Robson against Glory so it came as no surprise that they lost again.

On the flipside, Glory boss Ferguson will no doubt have been delighted to see Gold Coast’s depleted starting eleven which was filled with youngsters including 20 year old Zach Anderson who had a difficult night.

The defender gave away a penalty for an inexcusable handball which allowed Mile Sterjovski to open the scoring in the first half before receiving his marching orders for a second bookable offence just after the hour.

Playing against ten men certainly made life easier for Ferguson who has been criticised heavily for changing a team which won its first three games of the season. His tinkering over the past few weeks saw Glory take just one point from five outings before Saturday.

However the penny will hopefully have dropped as his side, playing in a 4-4-2 formation with recognised wingers on either side, looked a lot more comfortable than it did throughout the entire month of November. Liam Miller’s return to the middle of the park was the catalyst for some slick build up play, although question marks still hover over the end team’s end product.

Glory owner Tony Sage has recently come out and given Ferguson his backing, a big statement given the level of opposition to the Scotsman amongst supporters.

“We’ve had about an hour and a half of bad football so far this season,” he said, referencing the 4-0 hiding against Brisbane Roar in Round Eight.

“The rest of the time we’ve played very good, entertaining football and we should have scored a lot more. I’m pretty happy with where we are.

“Sure he’s under pressure. I’m not denying that. But the players are all supportive and I’m supportive. Everyone’s right behind Fergie.”

So there you have it, two managers currently struggling for results on the park appear to be safe in their jobs.

How long that sort of security lasts though is anybody’s guess.

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Neil Sherwin
Neil has covered the Perth Glory and the Hyundai A-League for five years and is one of Western Australia's most knowledgeable football journalists.
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