Newcastle Jets coach Phil Stubbins has warned the media and rival teams alike not to underestimate his side in the 2014-15 A-League season.The Jets kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 loss in the F3 Derby away to Central Coast Mariners last weekend, but were perhaps unlucky not to get more from the contest.
The Jets backed up that effort with a solid performance against the likes of David Villa and Damien Duff on Sunday, conceding late on to draw 1-1 against an expensively assembled Melbourne City team.
"Absolutely," Stubbins said when asked if being written off in most quarters was likely to spur his troops on.
"That's been a driving force for us. We've come together as a group and I've spoke all along about changing the mindset and attitude and approach of everyone. That then impacts on the environment at the club.
"I think at the moment if anyone was to come and witness what we were doing over there, you'd find it a very buoyant, vibrant place.
"We've come to Melbourne City, a second road trip. We've got another two to go in Wellington and Perth, certainly from our perspective, it was a positive performance."
With the Jets' first four matches of the season away from home, including trips to New Zealand and Western Australia, it was pointed out to Stubbins - who needed now reminding - that the draw has not been particularly kind to the team from Hunter Stadium.
"No, it hasn't," he said.
"That's for the journos to go through and debate, but we've certainly not been dealt a good hand there."
While his own players defied gloomy predictions of defeat at AAMI Park, Stubbins believes City could be at something of a disadvantage this term, with John van 't Schip's men at risk of failing to live up to the considerable billing they have received following the Manchester City-led transformation of the club.
"The pressure was all on Melbourne City," he said.
"They've got a wonderful inclusion now of Damien Duff, Robert Koren, even Erik Paatalu as well as (David) Villa. So the expectation of them to play in a certain way - it's going to go along with them."