A-LeagueNewcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick has urged his players to rediscover their attacking mindset against Perth Glory on Friday night.

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Ernie tells Jets to shoot first, ask questions later TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald. “There are a whole range of things that we’ve been dealing with, but what’s important is how you cope with it and bounce back.
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“The worst thing I can do is become an angry coach and focus on defence, when your major asset is attack.

“We’ve scored more goalsthis season [49 in 25 games] and earned more [competition] points than ever, so I’ve given them a reality check about how we have to defend better at set pieces, but really it’s all about attacking.

“Against City last week, I thought all we did in the first half was defend. We just sat back and forgot how well we can attack.

“In the second half, we came at them a lot more and nearly scored two or three times.”

Merrick said it suited Newcastle that Perth were likely to play with a similarly offensive attitude, given that they are eighth on the ladder, three points adrift of sixth-placed Brisbane, and need a victory to keep their faint finals hopes alive.

“Playing at this level, you always get very strong resistance,” he said.

“If you’re playing a team that just has to win, they’re going to attack more than they have attacked all year.

“That’s what Perth are going to do, and that’s great practice for us. But we can’t lie back just to win 1-0. We’ve got to go back at them.”

Merrick said the positive aspect of Newcastle’s consecutive defeats was that their position on the points table remained unchanged.

Regardless of their past two results –or their next two, for that matter –the Jets are still effectively 90 minutes from reaching the A-League grand final.

Merrick’splayers have hence been able to assess their shortcomings and regroup without the pressure oflosing ground in the race for the play-offs.

“It’s a great position to be in,” he said.

“We’ve done so well. The top two teams broke away from everyone else, and what that means going into the semi-final is we have the great advantage of knowing we’ve qualified, but we can still practice at getting better and better.

“We’ve been able to give some young players some game time and experience.

“I’ve got to keep my eye on the big picture.I’d like to win in the short term, but more importantly we’re developing a team that’s going to do well in the semi-final.”

Merrick said he experienced similar turbulence during his premiership-winning 2006-07 and 2008-09 campaigns with Melbourne Victory.

Both times Victory won the Premiers Plate as well as the championship, but faltered in the last weeks before the finals.

“The run-in to both was quite horrendous at times,” he recalled.

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