Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond reckons not even Barcelona maestro Lionel Messi could have dug his side out of the hole it created for itself in the 5-2 defeat to Wellington Phoenix on Friday night.
Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond reckons not even Barcelona maestro Lionel Messi could have dug his side out of the hole they created for themselves in the 5-2 defeat to Wellington Phoenix.
The Jets were 3-0 down by half-time after being completely outplayed by the Phoenix and conceding a brace to Dani Sanchez and a third to Chris Greenacre.
Although the visitors grabbed a couple back in the second half through Sung-Hwan Byun and Ryan Griffiths, a quick-fire double, this time by substitute Mirjan Pavlovic, sealed the impressive win for the home side.
"It wouldn't have mattered if we'd had Lionel Messi out there we would have been on the wrong side of the ledger," said a frustrated Van Egmond.
"I thought we were extremely poor in the first half. The second half we showed some signs of looking like the team that we can be.
"But the first half we gifted three goals. If you do that with any side you're going to be on the wrong side of the ledger by the end of the game," added the coach who had no regrets about resting Kasey Wehrman for the clash at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington has not been a happy hunting ground for the Jets who have now lost eight consecutive times in the New Zealand capital, scoring three goals and conceding 23.
"I don't think it was Wellington. We could have played anywhere and the result would have been the same unfortunately," said Van Egmond.
"It's about having a bit of pride in your shirt and having a bit of pride in the area that you represent.
"We're very proud to have that many members and supporters for our club ... and for us to put out a performance like that I'm extremely disappointed for these people."
The loss leaves the Jets in danger of losing ground on the top six with a congested schedule of four games in 14 days looming, starting against Perth Glory on December 31.
Van Egmond said it was now time for his senior players and leaders to step up and lift the team if it was going to halt the run of defeats which now stretches to three on the bounce.
"That's where you have to start banking on your leaders and the players who have got experience and the players who want to win for the club and people who adhere to what we want to do," the coach said.
"Once we start having that there's enough talent within the team to do well. If we come out and have ill-disciplined displays like tonight it won't matter who we play we'll be on the wrong side of the ledger."