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Jan 5, 2012

van Egmond praises Jets character

Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond admits while his team may still not be the finished article, they have come a long way to winning back fans' belief.

The Jets beat the Gold Coast 3-2 at Ausgrid Stadium on Wednesday to break their four-game winless streak and climb up to sixth spot on the A-League ladder.

They let a 2-0 lead slip away in the second half as the Gold Coast took advantage of their complacent defence, but their never-say-die attitude ensured they went home with the three points, the Jets netting a late winner just a minute after their opponents levelled.

"Things are a work in progress right now," van Egmond conceded.

"The difficulty for us at this moment because we've gone through a bit of a tough spell, is getting confidence within each other and I think this match has gone a long way in getting that confidence.

"The fact that they've come back and scored the goal when they had to, just shows so much more character about this team and what they're about.

"And as far as the players are concerned, it shows how much they want to win belief back for the supporters and the members."

The Gold Coast on the other hand had their four-game unbeaten steak halted as their iron-clad defence, which hadn't conceded a single goal in those four matches, faltered.

They slid back to the bottom of the ladder but coach Miron Bleiberg had nothing but praise for the Jets.

He even went as far as to dismiss talk of tension between van Egmond and his players after the Jets coach previously admitted to struggling to get his team to play his style and slammed them for a lack of discipline for not following his orders on the pitch.

"They fought hard," Bleiberg said.

"So everyone that talks about a rift between the coach and the players there wasn't any evidence of that because at the end they fought hard.

"They did everything to win and well done they deserve all the credit ... that win will really help them so good luck."

The Jets will now face the ever-dangerous Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday, the end of a gruelling week that has both teams playing their third game in just seven days.

The Jets will be without midfielder Ruben Zadkovich who will be serving a one-match ban and possibly defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley who copped a corked thigh in Wednesday's clash, but will be hoping to gain skipper Jobe Wheelhouse (foot) back from injury.

"Melbourne are in the same boat as us, three games in seven days," van Egmond said.

"It's a tough ask but one which I think we're in a good position to deal with."

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