Newcastle Jets coach Phil Stubbins believes his side took “a step in the right direction” despite crashing to another loss on Friday night.
After a horror week that saw the club hit the headlines for the wrong reasons when players Edson Montano and Sam Gallagher had to be separated at training, the Jets were outclassed 2-0 by Perth Glory at nib Stadium.
The Jets remain winless after 10 rounds, only ahead of Asian champions Western Sydney on the Hyundai A-League table.
But Stubbins said it was not all “doom and gloom” despite his team’s inability to capture that elusive win and he took plenty of positives from the defeat to the league leaders on their home turf.
“We all want to win and I think what was evident to me today was we had a crack and we genuinely gave it our best shot,” Stubbins said.
“We were playing against a team that’s full of confidence and has got a lot of quality amongst their squad, let alone the 11 they put out there, and it was always going to be a tough task.
“I actually felt we were quite unlucky not to get something out of the game.”
The Jets conceded an early goal to Glory’s Richard Garcia, but controlled possession for the rest of the first half and had more shots on goal than the home side before the break.
Former Socceroo David Carney had a golden chance to equalise early in the second, but sent his shot way over the bar and Newcastle never looked like scoring after that moment.
Jet captain Kew Jaliens was then sent off for a crude challenge on Scott Jamieson and Glory midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic sealed the result with a stunning strike from outside the box in the 86th minute.
“We entered into the fray in good fashion and we played some good football, but unfortunately the chance that fell to David, you’d normally expect him to bury that,” Stubbins said.
“We succumbed after the red card with the goal in the dying minutes of the game, which was a great strike and worthy of winning any game, but I think for the majority of the match, you have to say we come out of it with our heads high, albeit it was another loss.
“We played, in patches, some good stuff. I think we managed to edge the possession (53.3%), not that it counts for a win, but it was certainly a step in the right direction.”
Jets owner Nathan Tinkler spoke to the players before the match and watched from the stands alongside Glory counterpart Tony Sage.
It comes amid speculation the Jets could soon be sold to Scottish club Dundee United, but Stubbins denied the potential takeover was distracting his players.
“We’ve got everything we need in terms of facilities, everyone is getting paid, the training ground is very good so we’ve got no excuses there, it doesn’t really get mentioned,” the coach said.
Stubbins said Argentine playmaker Marcos Flores (hamstring) was an outside chance of returning for next Friday’s match against Adelaide United at Hunter Stadium.