Newcastle Jets boss Ernie Merrick is keen to see how his side copes with the pressure that comes with playing knockout Westfield FFA Cup football when his side challenges Adelaide United in South Australia tomorrow night.
Merrick’s charges have won three of their four pre-season matches so far this campaign, however a “disappointing performance” in a behind closed doors defeat to Central Coast Mariners is the blemish that the Jets are hoping to rectify in the city of churches on Wednesday.
“We need to be put under a bit of pressure to find out where we are at,” Merrick told local media before departing for Adelaide.
“We played the (Central Coast) Mariners a couple of weeks ago and it was a pretty disappointing performance both in defence and in goalscoring opportunities.
“We’ve worked on some of those things, so we are certainly looking forward to it (playing Adelaide in the Westfield FFA Cup).
“I know what we have been working on, now they (the players) have got to do it under pressure.
“It is very important that we go to the next round (of the Westfield FFA Cup) and beyond, and that’s the attitude that we are trying to instil. It’s about being fully committed for a win in every match and not taking a backwards step.
“I must say that I am a big fan of the Westfield FFA Cup, which has had more entries than ever,” he said.
The Jets left Newcastle on Tuesday afternoon with the aim of making the round of 16 of the annual competition for the first time.
Merrick, who has coached in the Hyundai A-League for all bar two seasons since 2005, knows the Reds will be tough opponents.
Adelaide is now coached by German mentor Marco Kurz.
“Adelaide have always been a very competitive team,” he said. “They always play good football, and when they are at home they are particularly strong because they have a great, fanatical fan base.”
“So all of those ingredients are good for us to cope with at this stage in the season given that we still have another nine weeks to go to correct any faults that we need to fix,” Merrick concluded.
Date: Wednesday 9 August 2017
Opponent: Adelaide United FC
Venue: Marden Sports Complex, South Australia
Kick-off: 7:00pm (local); 7:30pm (AEST)
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