Van Egmond: We can get better

Gary van Egmond says the Jets still have room for improvement and won’t be resting on their laurels, despite their F3 Derby win.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets head coach Gary van Egmond says the Jets still have room for improvement and won-t be resting on their laurels, despite their F3 Derby win over the Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.

While van Egmond said he was very pleased after the Jets secured the three points against their fierce local rivals, he said there were still aspects of their game that needed work.

“I was reasonably happy with the performance, but I wouldn-t say it-s something you can hang your hat on,” van Egmond said.

“I still think you have to play better than that if you-re going to be a force this year. I think overall Central Coast was probably the better team performance-wise, but we were probably a little bit hungrier for it.

“The one thing that we do look like at the moment, is that whenever that ball goes in that front third, there looks like there-s goals in us and we look dangerous.

“We-ve still got some work to do and we-re under no illusions about that, but I was very, very happy with their attitude and their effort.

“We talked about their character and this is the type of game to see what sort of character you have as an individual and as a team.”

The Jets took the lead through a Ryan Griffiths penalty in the fifth minute, but then had to weather an attacking storm by the Mariners for a portion of the first half.

Van Egmond said he was pleased with the way the Jets responded to the pressure applied by the Central Coast in what was a typically intense derby atmosphere.

“The match probably didn-t settle for a good 15 minutes, both teams didn-t find their rhythm too early and I think Central Coast were definitely on top at the beginning of the game.

“We came back into it part way through that first half, but it was real derby atmosphere.

“We-ve worked on our defensive shape and made sure we-re a lot thriftier in regards to letting goals be conceded against us.

“On the transition we have to be better. We have to be better at winning the ball, getting people into position, not having so many touches and creating better rhythm in our build-up.”

Van Egmond said some half-time adjustments helped the Jets perform better in the second 45. “What we were trying to do with our pressing in the first half, we got that a little bit wrong with the positioning and which player to take.

“We started to understand that a little bit better and that made it a little bit easier for us to close players down.

“Overall I thought their energy was good and their attitude was great and it was great to see the character of the football team come through.”

Van Egmond was diplomatic when asked about the decisions by the referee to award the Jets a penalty and rule out Patrick Zwaanswijk-s stoppage-time equaliser for being offside.

“That-s been the case since day dot with refereeing decisions and you can always interpret them one way or another, but that-s just football,” he said.

“Graham Arnold is probably looking at it that the Mariners didn-t get the rub of the green, where I-m probably thinking we did get the rub of the green. Next time we play each other it could be the opposite. That-s just how it happens.”