Mariners hire ex-Matildas coach Stajcic for A-League role

SYDNEY — Alen Stajcic has been appointed to take charge of A-League cellar-dwellers the Central Coast Mariners two months after being fired as head coach of the Australian women's team.

Stajcic is replacing Mick Mulvey, who was dismissed after the Mariner's 8-2 loss to the Wellington Phoenix on Saturday. The Mariners are last in the 10-team A-League with only one win from 21 games this season.

Stajcic was fired as Matildas coach in January, reportedly because of a bad team culture. But senior players have spoken in support of him and Football Federation Australia has repeatedly refused to detail specifics of what areas he failed.

The Mariners made clear, in announcing Stajcic's appointment on Tuesday, that they value the team-building skills he will bring to the job.

"Speaking with Alen and the board, there are two key elements we need to ensure over the next six weeks — stability and harmony," Mariners sporting director Mike Phelan said. "Alen is an experienced coach. He has experience at the highest level coaching his country, and is held in high esteem for what he achieved on the international stage."

Stajcic welcomed a chance to coach again at a high level in Australia.

"I would like to thank the Central Coast Mariners for providing me this opportunity," Stajcic said in a statement. "This is a club with a very rich history, which is something that everyone is committed to restoring."

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