Newcastle Jets coach Scott Miller has slammed pundits who wrote off his side before the Hyundai A-League kicked off. And he had some tactical advice for Sydney FC's coach ahead of Saturday’s NSW derby.
Miller, a former Fulham assistant coach under Roy Hodgson and Martin Jol, said the Jets’ fire is fuelled partly by being written off by most pundits.
“The lack of respect we’ve seen over the pre-season is a massive motivation,” he told around 250 members of the business community at a corporate launch on Wednesday.
“I found it astounding coming back to Australia – a relatively new nation in football – to be written off before the start of the season.
“It’s out of order. I don’t agree with it and you’d never see me writing off a team prior [to the season]. It’s given us extra motivation.
“But I didn’t want to use that as an independent motivation. It had to be more than that. And that’s the legacy we’re trying to leave here.”
The Jets won their opening game of the season on the weekend, taking the points against last season’s Elimination Finals side Phoenix in Wellington 2-1.
Though it was generally viewed as a surprise, it wasn’t a surprise to Miller whose confidence is clearly seeping into his players’ mentality.
“First and foremost, I expected our players to beat Wellington Phoenix. They [Phoenix] aren’t Real Madrid by any means.
“And that’s the confidence we’re showing here. We’re committed to our principles of play,” he said.
The Jets are preparing for a Saturday blockbuster against NSW rivals Sydney FC at Hunter Stadium.
A second win for the Jets would make it an incredible start to Season 11. And Miller isn’t afraid of the star-studded Sky Blues.
“Graham Arnold’s got a good squad down there but they aren’t any better than us,” he said.
“A challenging opponent but nothing to scare us with. Tactically very good. It’s 90 minutes of football and we’re there to compete."
And Miller began the mind games with Arnold with this blunt assessment of how Sydney sets up.
“With the personnel Graham’s got I’d play a different style. I’d play with a high-press.
“But they tend to sit back and [will] let us play. We’re looking to engage and play a higher line than we did against Wellington, be compact and score more goals than Sydney.”