Merrick ’not sure’ if Jets can find their goalscoring touch

Newcastle Jets’ goalscoring woes has coach Ernie Merrick scratching his head and he admits he is not sure it’s an easy fix.

Matt Millar headed the Jets level from Dimi Petratos’ free-kick in the 4-1 defeat against Sydney FC on Friday night.

The strike was Newcastle's third goal from a set piece this season but Merrick's side are yet to score from open play during their three games in the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season.

Frontman Abdiel Arroyo scored from a long throw-in against Adelaide United last week and Petratos converted a penalty against Central Coast Mariners in the Round 2 F3 derby.

“We struggle to score goals from open play,” Merrick admitted.

“That was our third goal we’ve scored from a set play.

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“Even at the end, Jason [Hoffman] was right through, one-on-one, we don’t score again. Abdiel [Arroyo] had his chance, Matt Millar had a chance.

“We’re just struggling to score a goal during open play and we’ve done so much work on it all of pre-season.

“I’m not sure if it’s something we’re going to solve in the short term but at training it is not a problem.” 

That lack of killer instinct in from of goal is not going to make Merrick tear up his plans in the Hunter.

The Scotsman referenced his previous Hyundai A-League successes playing an attacking style of football and insists he has no intentions of compromising.

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“I refuse to,” Merrick said.

“I think it’s very important that we play attacking football and play the style of football that’s always got the teams that I’ve coached into the finals.

“Our boys, right to the end, tried to score a goal. They should have taken a couple of chances but it wasn’t to be.

“It’s all mental. It’s performing under mental stress and physical fatigue.

“They don’t have that at training. They are all fresh, short, sharp sessions. It’s all mental. The best strikers in the world really are cool, calm under pressure.

“[We will] continue to work at it in training, that’s all we can do.”

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