Jets looking to tighten up their defence

Gary van Egmond said his team is working hard to tighten up their defence as they continue to search for their first clean sheet.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets head coach Gary van Egmond said his team would be working hard to tighten up their defence as they continue to search for their first clean sheet this season.

The Jets have had no problems finding the back of the net in 2012/13, scoring the second most goals in the competition with a tally of nine in their first five games.

Only the Central Coast Mariners have scored more, with their total goals tally sitting at 10, largely thanks to their 7-2 drubbing of Sydney FC on the weekend.

Newcastle-s marquee striker Emile Heskey has lead the charge with four goals, which sees him sitting in equal first in the race for the A-League-s golden boot.

“The most pleasing part of it is the fact that we-re creating opportunities,” van Egmond said.

“Apart from the first game, where we were a little bit all over the place, after that we-ve always looked dangerous and we-ve always looked like we-re going to score.”

However, van Egmond believes his side must now focus on being more ruthless in defence as they are yet to hold an opposing team scoreless so far this season.

“Our task now is to drive the other end. It would be lovely to come off the field without conceding a goal. That-s something we really, really have to work hard at,” he said.

“We like to play, but when you like to play you open yourself to use the whole space of the pitch, and on the transition you need to be good.

“You need to make sure that when you do look to play and you do look to control games, your decision making with your passing and where you-re supposed to be is right.

“If you lose the ball it can make it difficult to recover sometimes and that-s what happened on the weekend.

“I-d rather that than us just being a team that fights off the second ball, because then you-re not bringing much football, you-re not going to improve and it-s not a good environment for the younger players and players in general.”

Meanwhile, van Egmond has explained his decision to leave the coach-s box and return to the sideline after half-time in the Jets- 3-2 loss to the Glory last Saturday.

“It-s a case of just looking at the game and seeing the home team looking to exert as much pressure on officials as they can,” he explained

“I-m not saying that officials bend to that, but from a player-s point of view it-s good to have your coach on the sideline giving encouragement and for them to know that they-ve got me in their corner.

“It gives them confidence and it-s amazing how many of not only the younger brigade, but the senior group enjoyed it.”

After being on the sideline for Newcastle Round 1 match against Adelaide, van Egmond moved into the coach-s box for the Jets- following three fixtures against Sydney FC, Central Coast and Melbourne Victory.

Van Egmond said he decides where he is going to sit during each fixture on a game-by-game basis.

“It-s horses for courses and we-ll see for this weekend,” he said.

“Against Perth you can actually get your message from the sideline out, there were 9000 there so they could hear me quite easily.

“If you play in front of 35,000 in Sydney it becomes very difficult.”