Newcastle Jets head coach Phil Stubbins says he was proud of the effort shown by his side in their 2-2 draw with league-leaders Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.
While disappointed the Jets were unable to hold onto a two-goal lead which they developed midway through the first half, Stubbins said there were a number of positives for the Jets to take from the fixture.
“I was certainly proud of the boys’ efforts, we got ourselves a two goal lead, a deserved lead,” he said.
“Melbourne Victory are at the top of the league for a reason and if you give them a sniff they can punish you and that’s what happened.
“The boys are buoyed by the performance. They know they have let themselves down in certain areas but I think we had genuine opportunities to win the game today.
“Overall, it’s a positive performance for us, result aside. I’m certainly encouraged by how we went about our business today. There’s things we need to improve on, there’s no doubt about that.”
Stubbins challenged his side to develop a winning mentality to ensure they are able to capitalise when they find themselves in a position to win a match.
It is the third time in five games that the Jets have scored the opening goal and failed to win but Stubbins is confident his team are heading in the right direction.
“I’ve said all along that we need to improve our mentality as a club. It’s something that has been missing at Newcastle Jets for quite some time, we haven’t made the finals for four years,” he said.
“We need to get to a point where it becomes part of our DNA in knowing how to win a game of football. I think we showed that we’re close to that.
“We played a very good side today and credit to Melbourne Victory in how they’ve gone about their business.”
The Jets host bottom-placed Brisbane Roar on Friday night and Stubbins insisted that his team will need to match their effort against Victory to beat the defending Hyundai A-League Champions.
“We have to perform at that level. I think we made some last ditch efforts in and around our box against Melbourne Victory which was very good to witness,” he said.
“We’re certainly getting that combative edge that’s needed at certain moments in a game, which will determine whether we win or lose.
“We’ve got to be ready for the fight against Brisbane Roar and look for an improvement on what we did today.”