JETS coach Gary van Egmond said yesterday the time for compromise was over.
The players have been warned they must adapt to the frustrated mentor’s high possession, pressing style of play or be left to wallow outside the squad.
Newcastle will aim to break a four-game winless streak tomorrow against Gold Coast United at Ausgrid Stadium, and van Egmond is committed to winning by his method.
After the 2-0 loss to Central Coast in round 10, van Egmond said he consulted his players and made minor changes to the game plan.
That included a shift away from his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation to 4-4-2 or 4-3-3.
Since then the Jets have returned two straight losses – 2-1 to Sydney FC at home and 5-2 to Wellington at Westpac Stadium – and a 1-all draw on Saturday against a Perth team reduced to 10 men for nearly 60minutes.
The form slump has led some commentators and fans to question whether van Egmond has the cattle to persist with his favoured game plan as players have constantly turned over possession meekly when playing out from the back.
A defiant van Egmond said yesterday that the high-pressing, possession-based style of play was the best way to beat Gold Coast tomorrow then Melbourne Victory on Saturday night at AAMI Park and that it was the side’s job to adapt.
‘‘We have actually changed since the Central Coast game,’’ he said.
‘‘We had a bit of a chat with the players in regards to compromising certain things of what we look to do maybe a bit earlier in the piece.
‘‘But that compromise is over. We’ll definitely be looking to implement what we started to do earlier on.’’
When asked why he had decided to revert to his initial game plan, van Egmond said: ‘‘The results aren’t coming and the style of football that we’re playing isn’t the style I want, and that was very evident against Perth.’’
Jets midfielder Ruben Zadkovich said he supported van Egmond’s stance and agreed it was the best method to awaken Newcastle from their mid-season slumber.
‘‘You’re under scrutiny all the time and as far as I’m concerned you’re playing for your spot all the time, the way you play and the way you train,’’ Zadkovich said.
‘‘I agree with Dutchy [van Egmond] that no compromise is the best way forward for us. ‘‘Players have to be in form to play and if they’re not training hard and not doing the right things then they won’t play.
‘‘I fully stand behind that, it’s a good motto to have.’’
Zadkovich said the players, fans and coaching staff were all frustrated by the side’s inability to adapt quickly and effectively to van Egmond’s style of play.
‘‘It’s always going to take time to adjust to a new tactic and style of playing and I guess at the moment it’s fair to say it’s not working for us, and it’s up to us to make it work,’’ he said.
Captain Jobe Wheelhouse (foot infection) and English striker Francis Jeffers (ankle) have been ruled out for the Gold Coast game and are in doubt for the away trip against Victory.
Ryan Griffiths, Jeremy Brockie, Labinot Haliti and Marko Jesic loom as the options, but one player certainly outside calculations is Chris Payne.
Van Egmond said ‘‘no’’ when asked whether the 21-year-old striker was a possibility to join the senior squad.
When asked why not, van Egmond said: ‘‘Not good enough.’’
Veteran target man Michael Bridges, 33, played his first full 90 minutes for the Jets this season against Perth and van Egmond will allow the former Leeds United striker to manage his workload over the next two games.
‘‘I need to have a good chat to him and see how he feels,’’ the coach said.
‘‘He’s probably going to give us a bit more for the Melbourne game but I know what he’s like. He’ll want to play 90 minutes against Gold Coast.
‘‘But again, we’ll have a chat and try and work out what exactly is the best way to utilise him. He’s so experienced, so he knows his body better than anyone, and we’ll go off that.’’
Van Egmond said veteran Brazilian defender Tiago Calvano, who had a forgettable match against Perth, was likely to be rested or go to the bench, leaving Taylor Regan and Nikolai Topor-Stanley to form the centre-back combination.