Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says the Jets are heading across the Tasman full of confidence ahead of their clash with the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Jets are coming off a resilient defensive effort that almost saw them take all three points away from home against Melbourne City, if not for some David Villa brilliance in the 87th minute of last Sunday’s 1-1 draw.
“It’s going to be an interesting game, you know it’s going to be a tough battle going over there against Wellington,” Birighitti said.
“We got a lot of confidence from the game on the weekend, getting a point against City and we’re just really looking forward to getting over there.”
Despite having to start the season with four away games, the Jets can consider themselves quite unlucky to only be sitting on a solitary point after their first two matches.
Birighitti believes that both performances this season have been pleasing, but has spoken of the need to be more clinical in front of goal, after missing out on several opportunities in their opening games of the season.
“I think we’ve done well, we’ve got off to a decent start. I think we should have taken all three points in the F3 Derby,” said Birighitti.
“We bounced back against Melbourne City, against a tough opposition with some fantastic players and we went 1-0 up and we were a bit unlucky not to hold on for all three points,
“The good thing is that we’ve had a lot of chances, against Melbourne City we gave away a soft goal at the end, which I probably could have done better with.
“But it could have been 2-0 if Zenon (Caravella) puts that in the back of the net, Edson (Montano) had another good chance, Marcos (Flores) as well, which forced the goalkeeper into a good save.
“We’re getting into these good positions, but we need that bit of quality at the end to finish and that will come with the more games we play, and that can be the difference at the end of the day.”
While most of the concern will be on their own preparation, Birighitti says the Jets are wary of the attacking threat Wellington’s front three possess, coming up against Michael McGlinchey and former Jets players, Nathan Burns and Jeremy Brockie.
“They kind of sit back, keep it nice and compact and then hit on the counter attack. They’ve got fast players up front in McGlinchey, Brockie and Burns out wide,” Birighitti said.
“Burns has done fantastically well at Wellington, and scored a good goal over the weekend.
“Their attacking third’s pretty good so our back four just has to stay solid, and make sure we are on our toes and don’t give too much away because top quality strikers in the likes of Burns and Brockie will definitely hurt you.”