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ALM GALLERY: Consecutive wins now main priority for Jets

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Although pleased with a fighting draw against a well-credentialled side, coach Rob Stanton now wants the Newcastle Jets to string some wins together.

Following a 1-all scoreline with the third-placed Melbourne Victory at McDonald Jones Stadium at the weekend, the Hunter-based A-League Men’s (ALM) outfit next faces the Western Sydney Wanderers at CommBank Stadium on Sunday 11 February.

Newcastle currently sits in 10th spot on the ladder, four points adrift of the top six.

So, with a dozen matches remaining in 2023/24, victories suddenly become a priority for the Jets.

Newcastle striker  Apostolos Stamatelopoulos fires towards goal at the weekend. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“You have to win consecutive games [to make your mark], that’s one thing we really haven’t done,” Stanton said.

“We’ve been in some good positions to do it.

“However, we have endured a bit of an ‘up and down’ season… and it can be frustrating.

“We’ve just got to make sure that when we go up, we stay there for a long period.

“It’s also the same in matches.

“When you’re up and down in key moments, you don’t tend to get the [competition] points you need.

“So, you’ve got to win successive games… and it’s a big challenge.

“I believe we’re really competitive.

“The way we played against (leaders) Wellington Phoenix a fortnight ago and again against the Victory, we pinned them into long periods in the second half.

“Don’t discount that, it’s hard to do.

“It means you’ve got to be on point in a lot of things, as well as physically.

“Because the more you get tired, your decision-making goes off.

“With the younger players, that happens a lot quicker than I thought.

“But, as the game went on (Saturday), in my opinion, we looked a little bit stronger.

“Melbourne is a top team, they’re well-coached and you can’t drop off for a second otherwise they’ll punish you.

“For me, they’re probably the best side on paper.

“Consistently, they haven’t lost in 16 weeks.

“So, I thought we did a very good job… we built a lot of pressure in the second half and maintained it really well.”

Daniel Wilmering caused the Melbourne Victory a few headaches at McDonald Jones Stadium. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Stanton admitted confidence was growing within the Jets ranks after some strong stand-out efforts in the past month.

Newcastle even scored the match leveller in the 88th minute, showcasing the side’s fighting qualities.

“Although it was 1-all, you take a lot of belief out of that result,” he said.

“And, when you get it against a team like Melbourne, it’s even better.

“You want to test yourself when you face opponents like that.

“Again, look at the Wellington game, we had good possession, we built good pressure and we stayed with them a lot of the time.

“The difference is we got the equaliser this week.

“We still went for it, by bringing on Reno (Piscopo) for a defensive mid-left.

“Once we levelled, that left a big hole there, so it could have backfired.

“But, I think we learned from the previous week to make sure we didn’t make silly mistakes after equalising.

“It’s a dangerous period, especially straight after hitting the crossbar, so it could have turned ugly.

“However, it is all part of the learning curve.

“I’d rather play against sides like Melbourne and Wellington all the time.

“That’s where we’ll get better, learn from our errors and grow together.

“I’m really proud of the players.”

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