Van Egmond upbeat over Heart attack

COACH Gary van Egmond did not have to read the riot act on the areas the Jets needed to fix – and fast –  before their match against the Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park tonight.

‘‘The one thing that doesn’t lie is the video session,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m pretty sure that people understand from the video what occurred last week.’’

What occurred was the Jets’ worst performance of the season – arguably the worst under van Egmond’s tutelage – in a 3-0 defeat to Wellington at home.

The Jets had 61 per cent of possession but struggled to created a clear-cut chance. They were static, sprayed passes and rarely penetrated.

But it is the other end which is of most concern.

‘‘We have let in 13 goals in seven games – you can’t do that,’’ van Egmond said.

In response to the poor performance, van Egmond made four changes – including one forced by the sickening injury to goalkeeper Mark Birighitti.

He brought back left back Dominik Ritter, named centre back Connor Chapman to make his starting debut and included the flare of Brazilian Bernardo Ribeiro as an attacking midfielder. Matthew Nash is the new keeper.

‘‘From the team perspective, we are going there with a real positive mindset,’’ van Egmond said.

‘‘We want to have a real go, get those three points, and get back in the winner’s circle.’’

Van Egmond might have overhauled the starting side, but the game plan will remain largely the same.

‘‘Tactically it won’t change so much,’’ the coach said.

‘‘But when we get caught in certain positions, the personnel will be better equipped to deal with the situation.

‘‘If we are playing counter-attack football, I think we have a number of options to really hurt them. 

‘‘If it is a case of where we are playing higher up the pitch, I think we are in a better position defensively to cope with their counter.’’

Despite the lame loss to Wellington, the Jets remained in third place on 12 points – six places and five points above today’s opponent.

Like the Jets, the Heart are coming off a disappointing defeat, 1-0 to Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium. Before that they thumped Brisbane Roar 4-1 at AAMI Park.

They have lost winger Mate Dugandzic to a broken foot but welcome back captain Fred from a hamstring injury.

‘‘Fred is a very smart player, a good player – we definitely have to watch out for him,’’ van Egmond said.

We will try and limit the service to him and obviously put as much pressure on him as we can when he gets the ball.’’

But the biggest threat is their wide men. Fullbacks Michael Marrone and Aziz Behich, along with midfielder Richie Garcia, were named this week in a 25-man Socceroos squad for the East Asian Cup. 

Teenage striker Adam Taggart – out of the squad tonight for personal reasons – was the Jets’ sole inclusion.

‘‘They are very mobile,’’ van Egmond said of the Heart.

‘‘If you are playing in their half, you have to be very much on your toes with regard to the counter-attack. 

‘‘They have some very forward-minded players in their fullbacks.’’

CREATING OPTIONS: Bernardo Ribeiro will bring midfield flair. Picture: Darren Pateman

CREATING OPTIONS: Bernardo Ribeiro will bring midfield flair. Picture: Darren Pateman


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