Newcastle Jets assistant coach Clayton Zane says the Jets are well aware of the attacking threat posed by Melbourne City’s David Villa, but will not be overawed when they face the Spanish World Cup winner at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Villa announced himself to the Hyundai A-League competition with a smartly taken goal on debut in Melbourne City’s 1-1 draw with Sydney FC last weekend.
Zane said he expected Villa’s first goal to add to the hype ahead of Sunday’s clash between the Jets and Melbourne City.
“They’re probably going to have a packed house down there,” Zane said.
“Expectations on Villa have risen again given his cameo performance off the bench last weekend.
“It’s a big challenge for the back four, but if they can perform like they did against Central Coast Mariners, we’ll do a good job of trying to contain him.
“The thing about David Villa is that he’s got three or four other quality players around him in the attacking third.”
Zane said that while the Jets would show Villa and City’s other high profile recruits the respect they deserve, they would not be intimidated by the occasion.
“I think the A-League has had quite a few superstars in it in recent years and we had one here last season in Emile Heskey who has achieved quite a lot in the game,” Zane said.
“I think players are starting to become a bit more accustomed to matching up against these world class players.
“At the same time, they want to see where they’re at compared to these players, and obviously players in certain positions, most notably the back four this week, will find it’s a good opportunity to judge themselves against such quality.”
Zane said the Jets playing squad would be likely to gain added motivation from the chance to show their quality against football superstars like Duff and Villa.
“Obviously we’re going down to face a Club that there has been a lot of fan fare about where they’re headed and the direction that heir Club is taking,” Zane said.
“I think it’s a game that a lot of the boys want to be involved with for obvious reasons.
“They want to match themselves up against some of the best players to have played in this league in Damien Duff and David Villa.
“I’m sure the motivation will come from that aspect, but looking at our performance against the Mariners last weekend, I’m sure our boys will go down there with their heads held high knowing we can come away with the three points.”