Scott Miller says his Newcastle Jets squad will venture south to Victoria today with the firm belief that the club’s season is not over -- even if the mathematics to make the Hyundai A-League’s top six are stacked against the side from Hunter Stadium.
Regardless of whether the club ultimately qualifies for the A-League playoffs or not this campaign, Miller wants his men to represent Newcastle with passion, purpose and pride until the final second of their season away to Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on April 9.
It’s a mentality and philosophy Miller believes can help the club for years to come.
“It’s my responsibility to demonstrate my belief in the team and represent the club in a positive manner,” Miller said when questioned about whether his team have anything left to play for this season.
“It’s not over until it’s over, and my job each season is for at least 27 games, not 22 or 23, so we will compete right until the very end,” he said.
Compete against Melbourne Victory this season the Jets most certainly have.
In round three Newcastle won 1-0 over the reigning A-League Champions at Hunter Stadium, before the score was reversed by Kevin Muscat’s men at the same venue on matchday 13.
Miller wants the Jets to take to the field at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon with the focus and drive to win the regular-season battle against their hosts.
“It’s one-one at this point,” Miller said regarding his team’s seasonal results against Muscat’s charges. “We lost at home in round 13, and that was a hard result to take because we did very well that day but they broke us down late on due to our own lack of discipline.”
“We’ve spoken about that as a group this week and it’s our aim to continue our progression as a team. Most importantly, I want the players to show a great desire to defeat one of the top sides in the competition.”
“They [Melbourne Victory] are a team that are looking to remain in the top six. Our team don’t want to be the team to allow them the opportunity to consolidate their place in the top six,” he said.
Miller’s only foray to AAMI Park as Jets boss thus far was in round 4 of the current campaign when Newcastle defeated Victory’s cross-town rivals Melbourne City 3-2.
Down 2-0 at half time, Newcastle stormed back into the fixture in the second stanza to record a famous fight back.
Miller admits he has thought about that contest this week, but instead of his side performing from after the break, he wants them to take control of the contest from the opening whistle.
“I had that game in my mind this morning when I woke up, funnily enough,” Miller said of the City clash. “But it’s not about a reaction at half time, it’s about starting with a focus and a purpose to win the game win the ball.”
“We want to control the game and challenge the top sides with the depth and quality that they do have,” he said.
Melbourne Victory vs. Newcastle Jets – Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Round 24
When: Sunday 20 March 2016
Where: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Broadcast: Fox Sports 505
Radio: 1233 ABC Newcastle or ABC Grandstand Digital