Newcastle Jets Head Coach Scott Miller says his ambitious group of players are determined to push on together and make a mark on the Hyundai A-League in 2016.Miller’s men will play their first match of the New Year against reigning competition Premiers and Champions Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium on Sunday, and the game will mark the start of the third of the team’s four blocks of six matches this season.
Before the 2015/16 campaign commenced Miller and his squad broke their on-field ambitions down into four groups of six fixtures, leaving three matches at the end of the regular season in which to fight for further points.
After surpassing their group goal in the first block of the season, Miller acknowledges his side did not meet their target in the second block, and that’s something his players are desperate to redress.
“We’re very aware that we didn’t maximise our opportunities in the last six games,” Miller said on Friday. “[But] it’s not our job to be disappointed, it’s our job to correct it and educate the players why it happened.”
“We can make a lot of excuses or we can move on and correct it, and that’s our focus.”
“We gave the players three days off over the Christmas period – that was a mental thing just to get them away with their families and correct their focus for the remaining season.”
“We’ve got 15 games remaining and a massive opportunity to push on.”
“My first statement [at the Club] was to make the community proud of the group, and to be two points off sixth at this point is OK, but we want to really work harder to actually maximise the points in the next six weeks.”
“Complacency can’t occur and the last six games weren’t good enough for a group of players with such high ambition,” he said.
In their first meeting with Melbourne Victory this season the Jets earned an impressive 1-0 victory thanks to a united team performance supplemented by a piece of David Carney class.
The former Socceroo rifled a stunning left foot strike beyond Danny Vukovic in the 75th minute to help Newcastle claim all three points.
Carney is suspended for Sunday’s meeting with Melbourne at Turton Road, and while his presence may be missed Miller believes the former Sheffield United schemer’s absence merely serves to provide an opportunity for another Jets player or players to create for the club in the attacking third.
“It’s a hard one, losing David,” Miller said. “He’s been such a focal point, but I think a lot of teams have been setting up to stop David in recent weeks.”
“[Carney’s absence] changes their [Melbourne Victory’s] thought process a lot, but it also gives us a little bit of flexibility with our selection process, and an opportunity for another player to play in that position.”
“I am looking forward to Sunday from that perspective because it allows certain other people to step up instead of expecting David to create everything in the final third, so it will be an interesting game.”
Newcastle Jets vs. Melbourne Victory – Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Round 13
When: Sunday 3 January 2016
Where: Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Tickets: Please click here to purchase match tickets (ticket also includes admission to Westfield W-League match)
Twitter: Follow match updates via @NewcastleJetsFC #NEWvMVC