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Jones calls for more 'quality' from Jets

AAP logoAAP 4/12/2016 Emma Kemp

Newcastle coach Mark Jones has given his A-League players a stern ultimatum, calling for more "quality" in key moments or warning he'll find others who can do a better job.

Jones was visibly vexed after Sunday's 2-0 loss to Sydney FC, a contest they were never really in despite the Sky Blues' wastefulness in the final third.

On the one hand, he launched a passionate defence of his injury-ravaged squad, adamant they were still in the fight after a dour first half.

Yet the club's first-year coach was clearly wearing the pain of a seventh winless match.

Jones was content with his team's formation and tactics, but lamented their tendency to turn the ball over at key moments.

"That's extremely frustrating because that's all we work on at training," Jones said.

"(I told the players) it's not good enough. We need that quality and if we don't have that quality then we need to find players that do have that quality.

"We didn't sit back back and park the bus, we tried to press up high and play through them and have a go.

"I expect them to be able to execute and play through and keep the ball in tight areas through the middle of the park."

Not helping the Jets' fortunes have been the injuries that have ripped the guts out of the squad, including captain Nigel Boogaard (knee).

In a timely boost, Jones expected to regain in-form winger Andrew Nabbout (ankle), key defender Daniel Mullen (knee), Danish attacker Morten Nordstrand (hip flexor) and, potentially, young defender Lachlan Jackson (ankle) for this weekend's away clash with Perth.

Finnish striker Aleksandr Kokko is still recovering from a broken jaw.

Ben Kantarovski, who made a club-record 135 appearances for the Jets on Sunday, limped off in the second half with seemingly yet another knee injury, but Jones said the makeshift defender had pulled up fine.

Having slipped to ninth and on equal points with last-placed Wellington, Jones admitted it was difficult maintaing morale.

"The longer you go without a win, morale and confidence drops," he said.

"But they've got to learn to play.

"At the start they were actually confident enough to play through a good team. They just need to keep doing that until we score a goal.

"Obviously, some firepower up front would help."

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