Connor Pain reveals how Mike Mulvey has changed the Mariners

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A new attitude and mentality fostered by Mike Mulvey has Central Coast Mariners primed for their first A-League title challenge in years.

That’s according to 24-year-old Mariners live-wire Connor Pain, who says the Mariners are set to embark on a bright new era under the former Brisbane Roar stalwart’s tutelage.

“We want to play nice football, but what Mike’s brought in is that winning mentality,” he said.

“The mentality that we can’t lose football games. That’s sort of been refreshing.

“Obviously, he’s the first to say it’s better to win ugly than to lose pretty, so I think that’s good that he’s come in with that mentality.

“For whatever reason the last couple of seasons we’ve been a bit dry in that department, so hopefully this year we can turn it around”.

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“Having someone as well like Mike Phelan around the club and having him passing his knowledge onto not only us to but Mike (Mulvey) and Monty (Nick Montgomery), I think it’s really good that everyone’s learning from someone who has been in the inner sanctum in the biggest club in the world for 20 years.”

It’s a different look Mariners side to the team that finished bottom of the ladder last season, but Pain says the 15 new recruits are fitting in well with the rest of the squad.

“They’re good guys and they’ve come in and made our team look a lot stronger, and what they bring with their wealth of experience is going to help up leading into round one.

“Mike (Mulvey) has made squad chemistry one of his main priorities – making sure everyone fits into the pieces of the puzzle. We all get along with each other and we go out for coffees a lot and do things together, so I think that’s the make of a team that’s quite close and one who will go into battle together”

Ross McCormack is one of the new high-profile recruits, arriving on loan from Aston Villa after a stint with Melbourne City last season, with the 32-year-old Scotsman scoring 14 goals in 16 A-League appearances.

“The good thing about Ross obviously is he’s an out and out goal scorer.

“We’re gonna be able to rely on him to do what he does best and that’s scoring goals, and if I can help him that would be good as well”.

Another high profile recruit this season is former championship-winning coach Mulvey. After winning the championship with Brisbane in the 2013/14 A-League season, he will be hungry for success with the Central Coast this campaign.

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Looking ahead to the first round of the A-League, the Mariners have a trip to Brisbane for a homecoming of sorts for Tommy Oar and Mike Mulvey. After a lengthy off-season which began in June, Pain says the squad is ready.

“I think we’re ready, as much as we could be.

“Going into the first round is always an unknown with the other team and them with us. We’ll definitely be going into that game confident. I’m looking forward to it”.

The Central Coast Mariners begin their season away to Brisbane on Sunday, October 21 at 5pm AEDT.

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Cameron Smith
Football writer and radio presenter. Loves everything football (well, except Italian's diving since '06).