HOME-grown fullback Nick Cowburn believes the Jets need to exploit any signs of a Sydney FC hangover in their crunch clash at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
The Sky Blues will back up four days after going down 1-0 to Melbourne City in a torrid FFA Cup final at AAMI Park on Wednesday night.
Sydney coach Graham Arnold, with the luxury of a four-point lead at the top of the table, is likely to freshen up the squad for the trip north.
We need to be in Sydney’s face and not let them get any confidence whatsoever.- Nick Cowburn
“We know it will be a tough ask,” Cowburn said.
“They are a good team, and it is probably the best time to have them when they are coming off a midweek game. We back our selves to get the job done.
“We have to be aggressive for the whole 90 minutes. We need to be in Sydney’s face and not let them get any confidence whatsoever.”
The Jets adopted similar tactics against Melbourne Victory last round. It had the desired effect for 50 minutes, before they conceded two sloppy goals.
“Our main focus through the week has been to keep a clean sheet,” Cowburn said.
“We started the game well against Victory, and it was a shame we couldn’t finish the game off. We were in their faces for a long time. That is exactly what it is going to take against Sydney, but for 90 minutes.”
The Jets again were their own worst enemy against Victory. The first goal came from a free kick which took a big deflection. The second was the result of a turnover.
“It is not an opponent breaking us down; it is us making silly errors and giving them opportunities,” Cowburn said.
“Against Victory we didn’t feel like we got broken down too often. We just copped two silly goals and ended up losing the game.”
The Jets suffered a 2-0 loss to Sydney FC at home in round four. It was the Milos Ninkovic and Alex Brosque show that night. Brosque produced a clinical finish to open the scoring in the eighth minute before the Serbian doubled the advantage in the 49th minute.
“We know the qualities they have,” Cowburn said.
“Ninkovic and Brosque can cause damage. One of the focuses this week is to make sure we are set up defensively. As long as we keep them in front of us and not let them have too much time on the ball to thread passes, we will be right.”