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Jan 14, 2012

Jets coach sticking to match tactics

Gary van Egmond's uncompromising attitude to match tactics has polarised opinions in the football world, but the Newcastle coach is sticking to his guns.

The inconsistent Jets were impressive at Gosford on Saturday, holding runaway A-League leaders Central Coast to a 1-1 draw.

They were the stronger team in the opening half, going to the break 1-0 courtesy of a Labinot Haliti goal, before the hosts equalised in the second half through a Patrick Zwaanswijk header.

Van Egmond has stood firm on getting his players to adapt to his preferred tactics for each match, despite producing only five wins in 16 matches so far.

His resoluteness has also led to a public spat with Jets veteran Kasey Wehrman.

Van Egmond reacted angrily last week to the midfielder questioning his philosophy saying: "I'm in charge. This is how we'll do things".

Wehrman was dropped from the past two games and appears likely to be released when his contract finishes at season end.

But van Egmond felt the tactics he implemented in the 26th F3 derby on Saturday were proof that his style can be successful.

"I don't know if it justifies things," van Egmond said.

"But we've got a clear goal of what we want to do and we need to ensure everyone's on board with that.

"We'll continue to do what we do and play that way because we believe that will ultimately be the best way to play football.

"I think you have an onus to the fans and members and supporters to get results.

"But you also have an onus on the type of football you display as well and I think that's crucial."

Fan forums, blogs and the social media world have all been abuzz with opinions, some supporting van Egmond and others quite clear in their disagreement with his philosophy.

But van Egmond, who was hired after the sensational sacking of Branko Culina on the eve of the season kick-off, says he pays no attention to it.

"Someone said to me the other day `if you start listening to the fans you'll start sitting with the fans'," van Egmond said.

"So it's probably not a bad idea to stay away from all of that."

The Jets still sit in second last place on the ladder but the valuable point they picked up from Saturday's draw leaves them only one point outside the top six and well in the hunt for a finals berth.

"From fourth to last place is extremely tight," van Egmond said.

"So right up until the end I would suggest anyone looking to get into the top six will have an opportunity."

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