Van Egmond: We need to control the game

Gary van Egmond says his side is focused on doing a better job of controlling the game against Melbourne Victory on Friday.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets head coach Gary van Egmond says his side has focused on doing a better job of controlling the game in preparation for Friday-s match against Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium.

The Victory notched their first win of the season against Adelaide United last week and are sure to be full of confidence for Friday-s game. Van Egmond said he expected nothing less than a tough challenge.

“They-re obviously well drilled and they-ve got quality in their line-up so we know it-s going to be a difficult game for us,” he said.

“What we-ve really concentrated on this week is us. The effort has been fantastic, the attitude has been fantastic and the willingness has been fantastic, but at the end of the day we need to start to look to control games.

“On the weekend, we didn-t control the game, the Mariners controlled the mainstay of the game and we need to change that.

“It all comes down to positioning and decision-making in regards to passing, positioning in the front third, what rotations we need to do.”

Van Egmond said the Jets have to ensure they get the balance right between playing direct to striker Emile Heskey and being more patient with their build-up play.

“We-ve been doing it the whole pre-season, but with Emile getting here later, they-ve tended to look at that as an outlet a little bit too soon and we haven-t got that balance right as such,” he said.

“We-re not going to become a team that-s looking to play direct and play off the second ball.

“We are going to play direct at times, but it-s going to be calculated when we play direct and it-s going to be a case of looking to ensure we control the game through our ball circulation.”

Van Egmond pinpointed Socceroo Mark Milligan as the man who pulls the strings for the Victory and provides service to their dangerous attacking quartet of Archie Thompson, Marcos Flores, Marco Rojas and Guilherme Finkler.

“Their front four if you like (are the danger men). Obviously they have Flores and Archie, but Finkler and Rojas are also very important,” he said.

“The other one who is very important to how they work is Milligan. It-s about trying to not give him time on the ball. If you do that, quite a bit of the supply into that front four won-t be as good.

“If we can control the game, I think we can create enough opportunities in that front third to win the game. The issue for us is about controlling it and a number of other things will flow on from that. If we don-t, they have enough of an arsenal in their team to hurt you.”

The Victory haven-t beaten the Jets at Hunter Stadium since 2009 and van Egmond said he hoped for that trend to continue on Friday night.

“Every team that comes to Newcastle knows they-re in for a hard game when they come here,” he said.

“We spoke about that before last week-s game after we-d lost our home opener. You need to make your home ground a fortress and we-re hopeful to carry that on from last week.

“We want to make sure that every team that comes to Newcastle, if they end up beating us, they-ve had to well and truly earn it.

“It-s always nice when you have those sort of stats and a team doesn-t enjoy coming here as much, but again, they have a brand new team and a brand new coach, so we-ll see.”

Match details: Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory Hunter Stadium Friday, October 26 Kick-off 7.30pm (Gates open 6.30pm) Tickets available from PROticket.