Veteran Jets defender Iain Fyfe has called on his new teammates to channel an “us-against-them mentality” to get themselves out of their A-League form slump.
The 34-year-old comes up against some of his former Sydney FC teammates on Sunday at McDonald Jones Stadium as they try to break a six-game winless streak.
Fyfe has played in the Jets’ past two games after arriving as an injury replacement, and he has seen enough to know his “nice” side need more steely resolve to compete with the heavyweights of the competition.
“They’re a good bunch of lads, but they just need a bit more mongrel in them, I think,” he said on Tuesday at a team lunch in Hamilton.
“The problem isn’t the football. They’re good footballers; the football’s there. The problem is you’ve got to be ruthless winners. That’s what you’ve got to do, because at the end of the day no one remembers anyone else; they just remember the ones who lifted the trophy.”
He suggested the team needed to find more of the “grit” that once defined teams from Newcastle.
“You need the whole thing, the combination. You need technically good players, players who can pass the ball, no doubt. That’s the way the game’s moving forward. But you need to channel the other stuff as well.
“You need characters in your team, leaders. They can do it, but for some reason they’re kind of too timid. They’re not talkers – that’s fine – but they can open up a game if they wanted to.
“You can see in patches they play with their chest out, and they play with that confidence, but it’s putting it together for 90 minutes, bossing games and just bullying the other teams through your confidence and mental toughness.”
The Jets will get a first-hand look at a winning mentality when they host the Sky Blues. Sydney have six wins and two draws in eight games to sit four points clear at the top of the table.
Fyfe played 18 minutes off the bench in Sydney’s grand final victory over the Mariners in the first season of the A-League. David Carney remains from that side, and Steve Corica and Terry McFlynn are now on the club’s staff. Fyfe also played alongside Alex Brosque during his time at the club.
“I’ve still got a lot of good mates there,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it, but it is strange.
“It swings all the time. Sydney will have a bad patch, I feel. We’ll see how they react to that and how their confidence goes.
“And hopefully we can get out of this patch by winning games, and then our confidence grows and we can start playing that good brand of football and everyone hits the peak of their ability.”