Bleiberg set to punish GCU for loss
COACH Miron Bleiberg will wield the axe while his assistant Paul Okon attacked poor attitudes as an “embarrassed” Gold Coast assessed the wreckage from their record A-League defeat.
The competition's self-confessed glamour club and one-time high-flyers must pick up the pieces after crashing to earth with a disastrous record 6-0 thumping in Wellington.
After convincingly winning its first three matches to back up billionaire owner Clive Palmer's boast United would be crowned undefeated premiers in their inaugural season, the Coast is facing a major test of their character.
The Phoenix exposed a lack of spirit after the outplayed visitors conceded their second goal just after half-time when reserve goalkeeper Scott Higgins replaced the injured Jess Vanstrattan.
It was followed by three more in the next 10 minutes.
“They gave us a lesson in attitude yesterday, that if we don't turn up with the right spirit or the right frame of mind similar results will happen,” former Socceroos captain Okon said.
Bleiberg called off a “torturous” video review session to prevent sapping an already low confidence, but did warn he needed to mete out some punishment.
“We have to make changes,” he said. “We have to make changes first of all because we were not good enough, second because they were forced by injury and, three, you have to show people that you lost 6-0 and it's not just `life goes on and you turn up for the next game'.
“You have to shake the system a bit. It doesn't mean the changes will be forever. I still believe we have a good team and we will challenge for everything available.
“But when it's unacceptable we have to get punished. We have to lift our game.”
Both Vanstrattan (back) and Kristian Rees (hamstring) are unlikely to be fit to take on North Queensland at Skilled Park on Saturday night.
An angry Bleiberg told his players to look at themselves first and foremost after the whitewash. “Just shut up and keep quiet and be embarrassed, that's all, and just think about the next game,” he said.