'A fantastic start from a very good player': Geria impresses Garcia on Perth debut

Perth Glory boss Richard Garcia marvelled at the instant impact made by his latest defensive signing Jason Geria after his side clinched a 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets at HBF Park on Saturday night.

The former Melbourne Victory defender joined Garcia's ranks on Thursday, March 25, and was blooded into his starting lineup to face the Jets just two days later.

Geria's Glory debut was cut short at half time after an early red card to centre-back Jonathan Aspropotamitis forced Garcia into a major reshuffle, but before the right-back was withdrawn from the contest he showed encouraging signs of what was to come in a Purple jersey.

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Geria won all four of his duels down the right flank, passed 30 times at an accuracy of 90% and connected with Diego Castro more than any other player (seven times, laying four passes to the Spaniard in the attacking third).

"He’s a fantastic addition to the squad," Garcia told the press after his side's 2-1 win.

"He showed that today in that first 45 minutes. We’ve got a lot of games coming up, so we’ll have to be mindful of his body and see how he goes, but that’s a fantastic start from a very good player."

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Perth's defensive line has come under criticism of late on a five-game winless run leading into the Jets clash. But undermanned and facing immense Newcastle pressure, that defence impressed to help the home side hold on for a 2-1 win.

With Geria and Kosuke Ota on either flank and Darryl Lachman leading from centre-half, Garcia wheeled out arguably his strongest defensive unit to date this season - with experienced German defender Sebastian Langkamp progressing toward making his A-League debut.

Ota played 90 minutes against the Jets, laying nine crosses into the box, making four clearances and winning four duels. Paired with Geria, Perth's starting full-backs showed all the attributes Garcia hopes to utilise from out wide to transition defence into attack.

"We’ve always wanted to play with (full-backs) pushing forward and joining the game.

"It just so happens that they did that very well tonight, and gave us opportunities to be able to get the ball out to them and show their quality."

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The energetic Ota has impressed since arriving in Perth for the 2020/21 A-League season
The energetic Ota has impressed since arriving in Perth for the 2020/21 A-League season

Garcia continued: "I hope for more of those brave performances.

"The courage they showed to defend for 70 minutes was fantastic. 

The spirit in the team, and the willingness to work hard for each other- it’s what we’re after. They showed how together they are tonight as a team.

"Every win is significant, whether you win 5-0 or you dig one out and win 2-1. 

"The fact that they showed the attributes they showed tonight, the attributes they showed tonight, that for me is the most important thing.

"It’s something we’ve been asking for, and they’ve been asking of themselves. 

Sometimes when things aren’t going your way you tend to look deeper within yourself and within each other.

I think that’s what the group did this week, and it’s fantastic they got the reward they deserved at the end of the week."

Next Matches

Macarthur FC v Perth Glory
Friday, April 2 2021
Campbelltown Stadium
Kick-off: 6.05pm AEDT
Match Centre

Newcastle Jets v Western United
Monday, April 5 2021
McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 5.05pm AET
Match Centre