Jets hoping to eliminate soft goals

Mark Birighitti says eliminating the silly errors that lead to the Jets conceding soft goals last season has been a big focus.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says eliminating the silly errors that lead to the Jets conceding soft goals last season has been a big focus at the Club this pre-season.

Despite Birighitti-s outstanding season between the sticks, the Jets conceded 45 goals during the 2012/13 campaign, the second-highest total in the Hyundai A-League.

Birighitti told football podcast In Off The Post that the Jets are determined to make a big improvement on that statistic in 2013/14.

“Looking back on last season we conceded so many soft goals in the first five minutes of a game as well as just before or just after half-time,” Birighitti explained.

“We conceded something like 17 goals from set pieces and that-s just not on

“One thing we-ve worked on a lot this pre-season is our back four and our defensive structure - we-ve definitely been working hard on it.”

Birighitti said the addition of former Dutch international Kew Jaliens to the Jets- backline would prove to be a big asset.

“Kew Jaliens will make a big difference in the centre of defence and one thing we lacked last year was that really experienced player in our backline,” Birighitti said.

“I think last year was just down to a lack of experience and the average age of our back four was 22 or 23.

“Kew has played 10 times for the Dutch national team and he-s played for big Clubs in Europe, so with his experience, I-m sure he-ll lead these younger boys on the right path.”

Birighitti has also been impressed with another Jets recruit, former Reds teammate Nathan Burns.

“I was lucky enough to play with Burnsy at Adelaide United and he is a fantastic player,” Birighitti said.

“His technique, his pace and his ability to run at defenders and take them on is incredible and he-ll definitely work well with us.”

The Jets take on Melbourne Victory in a behind closed doors trial match at AAMI Park on Wednesday.

Birighitti said the fixture would be another important step for the Jets as they continue their preparation for the 2013/13 Hyundai A-League season.

“The boys are shaping up for a good year, we-ve made a few key signings and we-re really looking forward to a big year ahead,” he said.

“We had a solid hit-out against Sydney on the weekend and we-re looking forward to the game against Melbourne Victory tomorrow.”

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory Wednesday, September 18 AAMI Park (closed doors) Kick-off 2pm