‘It’s going to take a while’ – Bulls will get better insists Milicic
Ante Milicic insists Macarthur FC have the ‘potential to improve’ as the Bulls collected their first home point after coming from behind to draw 1-1 with ten-man Wellington Phoenix.
The competition newcomers’ inaugural signing Tommy Oar made his debut from the substitutes bench and dynamic Spanish duo Markel Susaeta and Beñat Etxebarria appeared sharper during the close-fought clash at Campbelltown Stadium.
The former La Liga stars combined in the 67th minute and Spain international Susaeta levelled the game, scoring the club's first A-League goal on home soil, after David Ball had slotted the New Zealand outfit ahead in the 39th minute.
With Macarthur having so many players that did not take part in the post-lockdown period of A-League football in July and August, Milicic believes the Bulls’ competition rivals currently have an edge.
“It’s going to take a while and we knew that,” Milicic said. “In our squad, we’ve got eight players that have played in the A-League. The majority of our players, their last game was pre-covid.
“So a lot of the boys, their last game was January, February, March. It’s going to take time to get their touch back.
“You saw Tommy Oar come on, that’s another body we’ve got back. The two Spaniards are getting fitter. A couple of boys are adjusting to the tempo and the speed.
“They are getting to know me and I am getting to know them. We know we need to do it quickly and we need to pick up points along the way.
“We expected this and at the same time, I’m very pleased with the squad that we’ve got and that we know that we’ve got the potential to improve.”
Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay was adamant the decision to send Alex Rufer off for reacting and kicking out at Denis Generau in the 62nd minute played a major role in the outcome of the game.
“My opinion is it was a very soft red card. I know my players well and Rufer is not that type of player,” Talay said.
“I wish he was that type of player but he’s actually not that type of player. So for me, I think that changed the game.
“I thought we were quite comfortable in the first half and even the second half. I think we had them by the ropes.
“I think we moved them around, we shifted the around, I think we played some really good football.
“It’s just disappointing that an outcome like that, or a decision like that, in my opinion, changed the game.”
Newcastle Jets v Macarthur FC
Sunday, 17 January 2021
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEDT
Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets
Sunday, 24 January 2021
Venue: WIN Stadium
Kick-off: 6.05pm AEDT
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