Determined defender Daniel Mullen believes the unity within the Newcastle Jets squad has the club well placed to enjoy a successful 2016, insisting it's too early to focus solely on the team’s table position.
Mullen – who joined the Jets going on a year ago from Western Sydney Wanderers – told media on Tuesday that the group is working conscientiously and collectively to improve its performances rather than worrying about its current position on the league ladder.
Indeed, the former Adelaide United, Melbourne Victory, and Wanderers man understands the Hyundai A-League well, and knows how swiftly teams can rise through the ranks should they remain together and implement the process that their coaches are working to instil in them.
“We’re in good spirits at the moment,” Mullen explained ahead of this Sunday’s Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League double-header against Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium.
“We’ve all gone away for a little Christmas break and we’ve come back refreshed and had a few solid sessions, and we know where we have to improve.”
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“We’re already a close-knit team and that won’t change. We’re all working together really hard every day in training – you can see it.”
“Our last block of six games has been disappointing in terms of results, but we’re only one win away from the top six.”
“I think sometimes you shouldn’t look into the table too much at this stage of the season [because] it’s a very long season and you can see there are no easy games.”
“The bottom teams are taking points off the top teams and vice-versa, so you can’t read into it too much just yet.”
“We have to focus on our performances and when our performances are good generally the results come as well,” he said.
Mullen, who played a key role in the club’s strong form to start the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season, returned to the Jets’ starting side from a two-month lay-off due to a knee injury against Western Sydney Wanderers on Christmas Eve.
Despite the Jets losing 2-0 to Tony Popovic’s team, Mullen put in a strong shift alongside Jets captain Nigel Boogaard in the heart of Newcastle’s defence.
“Looking at the game [against Wanderers] we had our chances,” Mullen said. “It was a match where if we had of taken our chances early it could have been completely different.”
“We have to take the positives of that game into this weekend.”
“Last week I was really happy to get through the 90 minutes … it’s tough sitting up in the stands, you want to go out there and help the boys.”
“Whether we are winning or losing I want to be out there helping the boys because I know how hard they work during the week.”
“I am happy to be back fit now and joining the boys,” he said.
As well as Mullen, Jason Hoffman – who was suspended for the trip to ‘Wanderland’ – ought to be available for selection again this weekend against Melbourne Victory.