The Newcastle Jets conceded three goals in five minutes to blow a 1-0 lead for the fifth time this season and remain winless… Newcastle Herald
This is Ernie’s team now
By Dave Daniel
There has been a lot of talk about this Phoenix performance and in the aftermath it is worth reflecting on the job that Ernie Merrick is doing. The evidence clearly states that this is now Ernie’s team. He is well into his second year at the helm but it is clear now that the playing style and personnel are beginning to reflect his image of how he wants the team to play.
On the sideline, Merrick is not one to jump around waving his arms or burying his head when a chance goes begging. I’m betting that at half-time he gets his message across in a clear measured way, no shouting required, but individuals are left in no doubt what he needs from them.
Krishna and Burns making waves
It was noticeable that even when the Phoenix went behind they kept their shape and tempo, moving the ball at pace. It helps that there is increasing confidence in Roy Krishna and the on fire Nathan Burns. Only last week the Phoenix were resigned to losing Jeremy Brockie (pictured alongside), who has been a great servant, but if you look closer all the signs are positive.
He has been struggling for a while and no doubt everyone wishes him well in South Africa but the emergence of Roy Krishna was there for all to see. His goal at the weekend, a rocket from outside the box, was his third goal in as many games and he has pace to burn.
Competition for places has got to be good
Interestingly the Phoenix say they are not going to replace Brockie which in my view is clever and the smart thing to do given the clubs current circumstances. Merrick is obviously happy with some of the younger players coming through the ranks and this opens the door for them. A few hungry youngsters with enthusiasm to burn makes for great training sessions and fierce competition for places.
Applying the pressure at the right times
According to Merrick it was Vince Lia the substitute who came on in the 71st minute who made all the difference. This allowed him to push Roly Bonevacia forward in support of Burns and McGlinchey.
By this time the Jets were tiring and it was all too much as they conceded three goals in 6 minutes. Bonevacia is a real handful, confident in tight situations, hard to knock off the ball and weights his passes so well. In the 73rd minute he put Nathan Burns through with a precision pass that Burns was able to run onto at speed and dispatch with confidence.
Any team in the A-League will struggle to handle Burns, McGlinchey, Krishna and Bonevacia coming at them and it’s only going to get better, because in real terms these guys are just getting to know each other.
Rising confidence and self belief
Confidence is also so important and at the moment the Phoenix stocks are rising because they trust each other, their playing style is fluid and they have belief running through their veins. So what if the opposition score, keep taking the game to them, move them around, the scoring opportunities will come. Right now they have the strikers to put them away.
A win against the Central Coast Mariners this weekend will consolidate their position in the table and maybe, just maybe, the Aussie commentators will take notice.