Van Egmond sees more improvement around corner

JETS coach Gary van Egmond has no doubt the best is yet to come.

Newcastle’s 2-1 win against Western Sydney Wanderers at Paramatta Stadium on Saturday night lifted them into third place on the ladder after four wins from their first six games.

Given that van Egmond oversaw wholesale personnel changes at the end of last season, it was always likely that his new-look squad would need time to develop cohesion and combinations.

But a flying start has given them quite a foundation on which to build.

‘‘We’re still feeling our way a bit in certain things ... I still see there’s quite a bit of improvement,’’ the coach said.

‘‘James Brown has only got back for his second game.

‘‘We’ve got a couple out injured, we’ve got the Young Socceroos away, so it’s been a little bit disjointed.

‘‘But once we get everyone back and ... have some good competition for places,  it should be good.’’ 

The main aspect of Newcastle’s game that van Egmond believes needs to improve is their defence.

They have conceded 10 goals this season  and are yet to post a clean sheet. But after allowing the Wanderers to open the scoring, they scrambled resolutely for the remaining 75 minutes –  often under extreme pressure – to emerge with three priceless points.

‘‘We got back on level terms and got our noses in front at half-time,’’ van Egmond said.

‘‘Then second half, there were very brief periods when we controlled it, but for the main it was one-way traffic.

‘‘From that, the way we defended our box, and the way in which we dug in and really worked for each other and didn’t concede, was good.’’

Van Egmond admitted it was ‘‘a concern’’ that Newcastle have not yet been able to keep an opponent scoreless.

‘‘But at the same token we always look like we’ve got goals in us,’’ he said. ‘‘We still need to work at controlling the mainstay of the game.’’

Young goalkeeper Mark Birighitti again showed a cool head and safe hands when the match was in the balance.

‘‘It was good to see Biris have a good game,’’ van Egmond said.

‘‘He’s developing nicely.

‘‘He’s still got a long, long way to go, but it’s good when your keeper can put the Superman cape on and save the day.’’

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