Rudan at a loss to explain Western United’s sluggish starts

Mark Rudan criticised his Western United side’s mentality after a plodding start in the 1-0 loss against Newcastle Jets.

A 36th-minute goal from 19-year-old Angus Thurgate was enough to earn Ernie Merrick’s team their first victory of the 2019/20 season.

This is the fourth Hyundai A-League game in a row where the Green and Black have fallen behind in the first half and Rudan put that squarely down on the way his team open their matches.

The Western United’s coach big concern was that his players do not hit their straps until they have conceded a goal.

“The biggest learning curve for us is we seem to get into gear after we lose a goal. That’s disappointing,” Rudan said.

“This week I didn’t mention anything about the slow starts during the week. 


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“We certainly need to start like we’re down 1-0. How we recreate that?

“I’m not too sure, but the mentality needs to be better.”

Caltex Socceroos right-back Josh Risdon thought he had grabbed a 70th-minute equaliser, only for VAR to chalk the goal off for an offside against Besart Berisha.

Minutes later, Connor Pain was played through by Max Burgess' outstanding lifted pass but Jets goalkeeper Glen Moss came to Newcastle's rescue.

The rally was too little too late for Western United. With an average age in their starting line-up of 31 year old, Rudan believes they should know better.

“You’ve got enough experienced heads in the team to understand what it means,” Rudan added.

“Normally with experienced players and good players, you only have to say things once.

“Clearly over the past few weeks, it’s not happening.”

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Western United controlled possession at GMHBA Stadium, dominating 65% of the ball.

But the lack of speed in their passing allowed Newcastle Jets to reset their shape and form a defensive block to shut down the hosts’ offence. 

“We took too long to get ourselves into the game,” Rudan said. 

“We were very slow in possession. We weren’t getting into our set positions early enough. 

“Ball speed wasn’t quite there. We played into their hands.”

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