Craig Deans believes the Jets’ victories over Brisbane Roar earlier in the season will give the side confidence this Sunday.
Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets assistant coach Craig Deans believes the Jets- victories over Brisbane Roar earlier in the season will give the side confidence heading into Sunday-s clash at Suncorp Stadium.
The Jets toppled the league leaders 2-1 at Hunter Stadium in Round 6, before beating the Roar 2-0 on their home turf in Round 11.
Deans said the self-belief garnered from those performances will hold the Jets in good stead for the trip north on Sunday evening.
“This week is a tough game, but we had some joy there earlier in the season and we beat them at home as well, so we can take some confidence out of those two matches,” Deans said
“We went up there last time and kept a clean sheet. We didn-t play our best football with the ball, but I think without the ball we were fantastic.
“If we can a take a little leaf out of our own book from the game up there before Christmas, then that-s probably the best thing for us
“As a group and as a whole team, we-ll have to defend out of our skin to get something from the game and make sure we frustrate them as much as we can.
“Obviously they have some individuals who are quality players, so it-s a tough ask, but it-s something that if you want to be successful in this competition, you have to deal with teams like that and players like that, so we can-t shy away from the task.”
Deans said the Jets had shaken off the disappointment of last weekend-s 3-2 loss to Wellington Phoenix and were focused on returning to winning ways against Brisbane on Sunday.
“A lot of the disappointment from the players and the staff is that you let the fans down, and that is a big factor, so from that point of view it is very disappointing,” Deans said.
“Obviously the personal pride as a player of being in game and not winning it is disappointing as well.
“The job of a footballer is to get up the next morning and get your head switched on for the next game.
“We can-t afford to dwell on it. It wasn-t pretty what happened on the weekend, but we-ve got a big task ahead of us up in Brisbane this week and it-s important that we focus on that straight away.”
Despite being winless in their last seven outings, Deans said the Jets were not writing off their Hyundai A-League Finals Series hopes just yet.
“There-s still enough games there to not be panicking just yet. It-s still a tight competition from second last through to fifth,” Deans said.
“As we saw earlier in the season, if you can have a run of three or four games where you can get some wins on the board, it changes the whole picture.
“We-ve spoken about taking each game as it comes and not getting too far ahead of ourselves and we-ll continue to do that.”
Having conceded 11 goals in their past four matches, deans said it was crucial the Jets tightened up their defence against arguably the most dangerous attacking side in the competition.
“Defensively we haven-t been as good as we were earlier in the season and that-s definitely something we need to address this week through training,” Deans said.
“It-s not just the responsibility of the back four and the goalkeeper, it-s a collective thing. It-s the oldest cliché in the book, but your defending starts from the front.
“You need to work as a team and make sure that collectively you work hard for each other and don-t let each other down.”
The Jets are likely to be boosted by the return of marquee striker Emile Heskey who has missed the last two fixtures with a back complaint.
“Emile-s trained really well and he just needed that full week off to completely settle the back down,” Deans said.
“He-s looked really sharp in training and enthusiastic. People like him bring a lot of confidence to the rest of the group and hopefully he gets through the week no problem and is available up in Brisbane.”