Papas’ last minute tactical change that help lead to win

It will go down as a famous victory for our Jets as our side notched up a 2-nil victory at home despite a week of challenges, however, that may have not been the case had it not been for a late change in tactics by Manager Arthur Papas.

We stepped up and put in a courageous performance in what was our first back-to-back victory this season.

Additionally, it was also our first consecutive clean sheet win after we also held firm at the back the previous week against Wellington.

A contributing factor for the solid defensive display may have been the introduction of an altered playing system which saw our team set up with five defenders, whilst still also keeping our attack threatening.

Taylor Regan was ushered in at the back alongside fellow veteran defenders Matt Jurman and Jordan Elsey, however the local junior revealed that the system change wasn’t made until late on gameday just capping off the uncertain week that was.

“There were moments where we were looking around thinking ‘who’s going to play here?’, ‘what are we going to do?’ and we trained all week with a particular system,” Regan said.

“Then the boss texted me on gameday and said ‘I’ve analysed them, we’re going to change it up. Sure enough, we did it, and it worked.”

It was Regan’s first full feature since returning from suspension over a month ago, and his first clean sheet back in Jets colours.

He mentioned he was impressed with Papas’ call.  

“There’s no doubt of his football knowledge,” he said. “I’ve known him for a long time now. He’s always been a football head and had a strong mentality towards the way he wants to play.

“We understood our job and our roles and responsibilities for that game, and it worked.”

The victory marked Papas’ sixth as Newcastle Jets Manager, and although he was the man behind the tactical decision, he praised the players for their aptitude in handling adversity and quickly adjusting.  

“I’m really proud of the playing group,” Papas said.

“It was a challenging week, but one that we know can happen in this season.

“The players who came in did an amazing job… It was our best game since the restart.

“I was pleased with the players’ ability to execute it more importantly.”

While the team didn’t prepare to utilise that particular style of play for their clash with Sydney, it is a system that’s been practiced many times before.

Our Manager believed the time was right, and was full of appreciation for the players.

“I felt it was the appropriate time based on availability and the opponent and the main thing is they executed it,” he said. “All plans are great, but you need the players to execute it so it’s a credit to them.

“They’ve worked on that, and we’ve used it once before.

“It was unfortunate we had such a long break over that New Years’ period, but it did allow us to work on our way of changing the game if we have to at some stage, so it wasn’t surprising to our players.”

Our side now head to Perth for a midweek clash with the Glory on Wednesday night, and will have a quick interstate turnaround afterwards as they take on Brisbane away from home on Sunday.