Gary van Egmond has praised the character of his side following their 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets head coach Gary van Egmond has praised the character of his side following their 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Sunday.
The Jets went ahead courtesy of Nathan Burns- strike in the 44th minute, but the momentum shifted in favour of the Victory following James Troisi-s equaliser shortly after the half-time interval.
Van Egmond said he was pleased with the way his side was able to regain the ascendancy away from home, with Burns scoring what turned out to be the match winner in 67th minute.
“I thought obviously it was a great result, but there was also a bit of adversity there we had to overcome,” van Egmond said.
“Scott Neville went down and he-s been excellent for us so far this year, but young Jacob Pepper came in a didn-t miss a beat either.
“To have some adversity and to come away with a win, just makes it an even better win.”
Van Egmond made special mention of the performance of Burns, whose brace broke his goal-scoring duck for the season.
“What he does first and foremost is he goes past people. He likes taking players on and in those wide areas there is space for him to do that,” van Egmond said.
“You need players in those areas who can go past defenders and don-t just try and pass past people.
“I think he-s been excellent all year and with a bit of luck, he would have had a number of other goals.
“Today was the day he was able to get some and that is a testament to his perseverance and quality.”
Van Egmond said he was also extremely pleased with the way in which his players executed their game plan against Melbourne.
“We tried to overload them a little bit in midfield with Ben Kantarovski playing on the other side of Mitch Nichols and James Troisi,” he explained.
“We tried to make the space a little bit bigger with both Ruben Zadkovich and Josh Brillante stretching them out.
“At times it worked really well when we were able to get out the opposite side, but if we-d kept all our midfield on the one side, we would have got ourselves in real trouble.”
Van Egmond said Neville-s knee injury appeared to be serious, but the Club would know more once the fullback has scans.
“He-s in a brace and we-ll know a little bit more once he has scans and what have you,” van Egmond said.
“He just felt something click and usually when that happens it-s not a good one, so we-ll cross our fingers and hope for the best.”
The win over Melbourne Victory elevated the Jets into third place on the Hyundai A-League ladder, with the opportunity to move into second up for grabs when they take on Western Sydney Wanderers at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.
Van Egmond said he is happy with the progress and development of his side so far this season.
“They-re getting better,” van Egmond explained.
“If you look at our squad, apart from Emile and Kew, the rest are pretty young and as we know with young players you get some inconsistencies.
“The benefit of having an A-League season under their belts from last season, the benefit of going to an U-20 World Cup and the benefit of making Australian national teams is starting to help these young ones with their development and I can only see them getting better.
“There will be some bumps in the road this season, there-s no doubt and the important thing is to try and recognise that from a coaching perspective of who needs a little rest here and there and rotating players.”
Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers Saturday, December 14 Hunter Stadium Kick-off 7.45pm Tickets available from PROticket.