New Jets Head Coach Ernie Merrick arrived in Newcastle on Friday to meet with staff and advance preparations leading into the Club’s 2017 pre-season schedule.
Having returned to Australia from the United Kingdom earlier this week, Merrick also made time to address the region’s media face-to-face - key stakeholders he hadn’t been able to greet since his appointment as the 10th manager of the Club.
Merrick will join Newcastle Jets Chief Executive Officer Lawrie McKinna on a trip to Shenzhen, China next week for discussions with Club owner Mr Martin Lee.
Here are some of the best quotes and images from Merrick’s first Jets press opportunity held at iconic Honeysuckle.
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“I am really looking forward to getting back into it, and this weather is just spectacular. A bit of a change from New Zealand and Scotland!”
“I am really looking forward to getting the team together and I think we even have our first friendly match organised on the 8th of July against Audax (Italiano) from Chile. So hopefully we will get a few fans come and see what might be a different type of team.”
“Since my appointment I have been overseas in the UK so Lawrie (McKinna) and I have virtually been on the phone with Joel (Griffiths) and Clayton (Zane) as well and we are trying to put together a fairly solid side. In my opinion we have the basis of a good team, but we need to add four experienced, quality players.”
“The three signings that have been made already are top shelf with (Daniel) Georgievski in defence and (goalkeeper) Glen Moss from the Phoenix, and up front (Roy) O’Donovan. They are three excellent signings but we need to get three or four more senior players to build this team, and our target is to be in the finals next season.”
“I always look out for (and) keep in touch with players and other coaches. I am pretty positive that we can attract good quality players to this Club.”
“In general I am very keen to sign players that are not only physically and technically capable but have a really good character and as I say a commitment to this Club. It’s the sort of Club that the fans are a really terrific bunch that have been waiting a long time for success.”
“I have looked at about 12 matches and I have looked at some stats of the Newcastle Jets and I am not very happy with some of the defensive work. A team that gives away eight penalties, you are really handing the opposition the opportunity to score, you are handing them goals. To me that’s just discipline. So team discipline we have to get right at the back and defensively. That will mean coaching and structure but also hopefully another addition.”
“Where this team really miss out I think is up front. There are not enough players in the team with a commitment to get into goalscoring positions. Even if you don’t score there has got to be this commitment to get into where goals are most frequently scored - between the penalty spot and the six-yard box. We need to get in there on a regular basis and demand the ball and when it does come in be first there.”
“We can’t concede 53 goals and have two clean sheets in the whole year. There is a lot of team discipline that has to be sorted out but we need to sign attacking players.”