It was weird beating the team I built - Robinson
Western Sydney Wanderers boss Carl Robinson believes the time he spent building the squad at Newcastle Jets as their head coach in the 2019/20 campaign ultimately helped him defeat them in his tense return to McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.
Robinson oversaw the Jets for a brief but bright stint to end the previous A-League campaign, in which Newcastle won seven and drew three of his 11 games in charge.
The former Welsh international left the club in the off-season to take on a new challenge as head coach of the Wanderers and returned McDonald Jones Stadium in Matchweek 3 to face the music, largely ringing in his ears in the form of boos from a vocal and hostile home crowd.
But Robinson had the last laugh when his side fought to secure a memorable 2-1 victory, and his post-match dissection of the match will do little to mend the hearts of the Jets faithful.
"I built this team, Newcastle - I know the way they wanted to play so I tried to counteract that," Robinson told FOX Sports post-match.
"We played a diamond in midfield, we tried to outnumber them which we did and we took control of the game when we wanted to.
It was actually a bit weird trying to beat the team I actually made.
MATCH REPORT: Newcastle Jets 1-2Western Sydney Wanderers
Robinson continued: "I’m pleased for the players because they took the information on board.
"I said to the guys ‘if you play well, if you apply yourself, you commit and you perform, you’ll play'.
"But if you don’t and have a day off, you can’t have a day off in training because managers unfortunately pick the team based upon training.
"The senior players like to have a day off now and again, but when you’re a young lad fighting for your position don’t, and if you do that then the senior players are kept on their toes as well.
"I thought there were a number of excellent performances, as I said in a very hostile place."
One player who shone for the Wanderers was Tate Russell who operated in an aggressive, attack-minded full-back role, showing bravery and determination to bomb forward time and again to assist his teammates in attack.
His wing play, coupled with the similarly impressive work of Thomas Aquilina down the opposite flank, was a noticeable strength of the Wanderers' play, and ultimately led to the all-important second goal in the 2-1 win.
"I saw Nicolai (Müller) was by himself at the back and i knew Coxy (Simon Cox) would make that near post run and drag a couple of people out," Russell explained on FOX Sports as he explained the play leading to his emphatic goal.
"Keanu (Baccus) was on the edge of the box and he just chose me instead of Keanu.
"I guess it could have been me or him who hit that."
Russell continued: "Me and Aquilina getting up higher was one thing we talked about.
"Defending on the front foot, we got higher and got more opportunities higher."
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