Tactical reshuffle sparks Jets

Gary van Egmond says a tactical reshuffle was the reason behind the Jets’ improved second-half performance against Melbourne.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets head coach Gary van Egmond has revealed a tactical reshuffle was the reason behind the Jets- improved second-half performance in their 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory on Friday night.

Van Egmond said he was frustrated with Newcastle-s lack of fluency in the first 45 minutes, which prompted him to tinker with their formation slightly during the half-time break.

“In the first half here was room in the midfield to play, but our positioning was poor, our decision-making with the ball was poor and our ball circulation was poor,” van Egmond explained.

“That made it very difficult for us to find the spare person. When we did we looked quite good but it wasn-t often enough.

“We had to change so we went back to a more traditional 4-3-3 playing with a number 10 and two number sixes.

“Ryan (Griffiths) started to find some more joy in between their midfield and their defence and we started to get some rhythm within the game and we kept the ball a lot better as well and from that we were able to score a couple of goals.”

Friday-s night-s result gave the Jets their third consecutive win and elevated them to the top of the table. It also marked their best ever start to a season since the inception of the A-League in 2005/06.

“Result wise, it-s terrific. From our point of view we were always very confident with the work that we-ve done in the off-season because the boys have trained extremely hard,” van Egmond said.

“If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that we would win three out of our first four, I definitely would have taken that.

“What I-m really, really pleased with is their attitude and their desire to win the game. They-re a really tight bunch, they-re really covering each other and making sure that they work extremely hard defensively.”

While van Egmond was pleased with the Jets- results so far in 2012/13, he said they still have areas of their game that need fine-tuning. He believes the return from injury of Scott Neville and James Brown will be an added boost in that respect.

“We can still get better in regards to our performance, but we have a couple of bodies coming back which will help, with Scott Neville and James Brown back for this weekend coming up against Perth,” van Egmond said.

“James played half and hour with the youth team on Thursday and he came through that fine. Scott could have played tonight, but we just thought we-d give him that one more week and he should be fine for next week.

“There-s going to be good competition for places, but there-s still plenty of room for improvement as far as the performance is concerned.”

Such is the strength of competition for places in the Jets- squad, van Egmond could only find room on the bench for James Virgili against Melbourne on Friday, despite the 20-year-old-s eye-catching performance in last week-s F3 Derby against the Mariners.

“I really felt that James was going to have a lot of impact coming off the bench,” van Egmond explained.

“With Melbourne travelling here it was going to be a difficult assignment for them and having someone like a James Virgili coming on can really, really hurt the opposition.

“It-s not only James, it-s all players. It may be a case where a number of other players who you might think should start will come off the bench at different points during the season.

“If we-re going to achieve anything this year, it-s going to be done with the whole of the squad, as you-ve seen today with Josh Brillante coming in and playing at right-back.”