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ALM GALLERY: Stanton praises young troops during difficult time

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Newcastle Jets coach Rob Stanton is always proud of his young troops.

But, even more so at the weekend, after his side accounted for Sydney FC 3-1 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday 7 April.

With plenty of talk, rumours and outside noise surrounding the club’s future in the A-League, the team produced a Herculean effort against their fourth-placed rivals.

In the process, Newcastle lifted itself off the bottom of the ladder, with three rounds remaining.

Apostolos Stamatelopoulos continued his goal-scoring ways against Sydney FC at the weekend. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“I’m just happy we won,” Stanton said.

“I think we deserved it, too.

“I try not to let emotion get the better of me at times… I’ve got too many things to think about.

“However, I’m delighted for the boys.

“It’s a good reward for the things we’re doing well on the pitch.

“There’s a lot of stuff happening around [the place] that’s distracting, it takes me away from doing what I need to do.

“But, [today] shows you can beat anyone if you prepare well.

“We did our job, executed it well and got the result.”

Following the news another prospective owner pulled out of negotiations with the Jets, the players could be forgiven for “turning it up”.

However, that’s not in their nature, according to Stanton.

“They’re a funny group, which is a compliment… I think it’s because of their generation,” he said.

“But, they’re starting to understand what type of person I am.

“I try hard to work and make those connections with them.

“Then you start to learn about individuals and how they are as a team and their personalities begin to come out.

“You can align with their behaviours and their values.

“So, under the circumstances, I believe they’ve been great all year because we’ve established a terrific culture here.

“Even when they’ve been under the pump, or things haven’t been good, their body language has indicated otherwise.

“You’d think they were at the top.

“It’s just that they’re a unique group.

“They’ve managed a tough scenario, a situation they can’t control, and they’ve focused on the football stuff.

“So, they should enjoy this victory.”

Reno Piscopo produced an outstanding match for the Newcastle Jets. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Stanton was quick to shut down suggestions the triumph would assist the sale of the Hunter-based organisation.

“One game won’t make a difference,” he said.

“I think we’ve been doing good things on the paddock all season.

“Performance-wise and what we’re doing doesn’t relate to where we sit on the table.

“However, we’re there (10th) because you have to get wins.

“We’re not at that stage yet where we can win every week and be consistent like a Sydney FC or some of those other teams.

“So, we must grow as a group, grow as individuals.

“We need to develop people, from staff to players, and everyone’s got to improve together.

“Otherwise, you can’t play consistently.

“With what happens on the pitch, a lot of things need to go right off it throughout the entire club.

“At the moment, our identity is in limbo because we don’t have new owners.

“And, it can take a toll on you.

“But, the boys have concentrated on the job at hand; they’ve shown it week-in, week-out.

“You can get belted in this league very easily and it hasn’t happened a lot with us.

“For a young group, I believe they’re getting better and better.

“They’re maintaining the ball, managing spaces and distances, and keeping themselves in the game.

“You saw it at the weekend… they executed well and deservedly won.”

Stanton remains confident Newcastle will finish 2023/24 on a high.

The Jets tackle the Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 13 April, before returning home for clashes with the Wellington Phoenix (Friday 19 April) and Central Coast Mariners (Saturday 27 April).

“I believe every time we go out, we are going to win,” he said.

“Recently, I told the players I’ve been in fixtures and played in certain matches against certain teams, not 100% sure what the outcome might be because they’ve got this, this and this.

“But, with this group it’s totally different.

“I always go into the game thinking no problems, we can win this today.

“And, they didn’t let me down [against Sydney FC].

“I’ll have the same attitude with the remaining matches.”

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