NEWCASTLE Jets coach Gary van Egmond last night defended his substitution of youngster Jesse Pinto against Adelaide after the 18-year-old had played just 16 minutes as a second-half substitute.
Van Egmond drew criticism from Fox Sports commentator Ross Aloisi after hooking Pinto with seven minutes left in last night's game and replacing him with Kaz Patafta.
And the coach's comments about the youth league midfielder during a Fox Sports television interview immediately after the game quickly drew fire from fans on Jets supporters' websites.
Van Egmond said the 18-year-old debutant was making mistakes and was "the worst player out there".
But later in the post-match press conference he tempered his comments.
"He was having a very torrid time. I think every ball he gave away. He was getting less and less confident. I thought rather than prolong the agony for the kid take him off and put someone else on," van Egmond told the press conference.
"That is what you get sometimes with young ones. They look fantastic at training and in the youth league but throw them in and it becomes too much.
"There are two chains of thought: you can leave them out there and let them try and grind through, which can be detrimental, or you can try and save him. That is what I tried to do. He is a good young player with a bright future, but it was not his night tonight."