Stubbins hails defensive improvement

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March 11, 2015 12:08:40 UK

Newcastle Jets have become harder to beat over the past month and are determined to put in a strong finish to the season, says coach Phil Stubbins.

The Jets are three points ahead of Western Sydney Wanderers in their battle to avoid the A-League’s wooden spoon, with both teams only having managed one win all season.

Stubbins’ side go to Finals Series-chasing Melbourne City on Saturday, where they are 7.50, heartened by their recent results. They had drawn three in a row before going down 1-0 at home to Sydney FC last weekend, a result which didn’t disappoint their coach.

“They’d scored 19 goals in their last five games so losing to them by a solitary goal would further vindicate our efforts defensively,” said Stubbins.

The Jets were thrashed 7-0 away to Adelaide United in January, just after sacking five players and three coaches. Since then, though, they have only shipped six goals in five games including picking up just their second clean sheet of the season in a 0-0 draw at home to Central Coast.

“You’d have to say we’ve become tighter as a unit,” said Stubbins. “Our last five games have been very closely contested with the players performing resolutely on each occasion.”

The finals are out of reach for the club now, with just seven games left and sixth-placed Brisbane Roar being 14 points ahead with two games in hand. But Stubbins wants his side to keep pushing for success in the rest of the season.

He said: “We simply want to do the best we can until the conclusion of the campaign. It would be great for the group and our younger players to secure some wins between now and the end of the season but more importantly for our supporters.”

Newcastle are 8.00 to beat Melbourne City by a one-goal margin.

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