Central Coast need to switch on from the start of games if they want a second win of the A-League season, says coach Tony Walmsley.
The Mariners' all-out attack came up short again on Sunday in a 2-0 loss to Western Sydney as Walmsley's men lacked the overall class of Western Sydney and his defenders struggled to contain the constant threats of Mitch Nicholls and Romeo Castelen.
It was despite Walmsley making a "calculated gamble" in the first half and opting for an even more aggressive attack than normal with four up front, though they simply could not move the ball quickly enough to make the desired impact.
The Mariners hit their stride in the second half and Irish striker Roy O'Donovan nearly scored twice, shooting just wide before being denied by a very good save from Wanderers keeper Andrew Redmayne.
But for Walmsley it was too little too late.
"We can't start games slowly in the A-League and only play for half a game and expect to get the right results," he said.
"We've got to be able to do what we did in the second half for 90 minutes.
"When we grasp that mentality for the whole game we're going to be hard to stop."
It's been a long time between drinks for the Mariners, who beat Perth Glory at home in round one but have not managed three points in any of their next seven matches.
They host Melbourne City on Thursday, with quickfire winger Mitch Austin expected to be fit and fully recovered from a foot injury.
However, skipper Nick Montgomery will be suspended after he picked up his fifth yellow card in eight matches for a tackle on Scott Jamieson.
Walmsley said young defender Harry Ascroft would be suitable to replace him at centre-back.
He hoped to have Fabio Ferreira (hamstring) back in time for the trip to Perth on Saturday week.