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Oct 19, 2009

Glory coach scoffs at disharmony claims

Perth Glory coach Dave Mitchell insists his team remains a happy camp despite several players displaying elevated levels of frustration towards one another in the club's 2-1 A-League loss to Gold Coast on Sunday.

Glory players were seen regularly arguing amongst themselves during a lacklustre first half display and at one point skipper Jacob Burns ran over to Mitchell and demanded the substitution of midfielder Victor Sikora, who had made several crucial errors.

But Mitchell said Burns' outburst was a sign of his competitive nature and frustration at a particular incident rather than any form of disharmony.

"I don't think there was friction," Mitchell said.

"I think it was a situation where Jacob had to make a long run because Victor let a ball run through his legs.

"Jacob had to run 70 metres and he was frustrated.

"So that's a heat of the moment scenario but nothing to do with how Victor was playing.

"They're competitive and Jacob was just a bit annoyed.

"Next time it could be Victor shouting at Jacob.

"They are all keen to do well this year and that stems from being competitive."

Sikora made up for his error-riddled first-half after the break, sliding a beautiful pass through to Todd Howarth in the box in the 55th minute to set up Perth's only goal of the match.

"Victor's a fantastic player," Mitchell said.

"Players can play bad, they can make mistakes, they're not robots.

"But you've got to get the goodness out of them.

"Victor in the second half was superb, so was the team's performance."

Perth were unlucky not to secure at least a point against Gold Coast after creating several clear-cut opportunities.

Striker Branko Jelic was denied a goal for a dubious off-side call while the Serbian also had a penalty claim dismissed despite being clearly dragged down in the box.

While Perth didn't come away with the win, Mitchell was happy with the performance.

"Some people think the last few weeks we were struggling but other teams combat you well," he said.

"Yesterday we played very well and it was a credit to the players in the second half, because we had stern words at half time.

"They came out and played very well in the second half but didn't get the just rewards."

Mitchell said he was confident marquee striker Mile Sterjovski, who was a late withdrawal against Gold Coast after picking up a knock to his leg a week earlier against Adelaide, would be fit for Saturday's clash with North Queensland in Townsville.

The Glory dropped to fourth on the table following the loss to Gold Coast, while the Fury remain last after their 1-1 draw with Wellington.

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