ROY O’Donovan has declared the Newcastle Jets are ready to bounce back and leave a frustrating start to the season behind them.
The Jets suffered another setback on Sunday night in an 2-1 upset loss to Adelaide United at McDonald Jones Stadium, despite producing significantly more scoring chances than the visitors.
The result left them seventh on the ladder, three points adrift of the top six, after winning only three of their first 10 games.
They have a chance to make amends on Wednesday when they host struggling Brisbane Roar, who are coming off five consecutive losses and the resignation last week of former coach John Aloisi.
O’Donovan, who scored Newcastle’s goal against Adelaide and had another disallowed, said senior players would not allow any sense of disappointment to detract from the team’s collective belief.
“That won’t happen,” he told the Newcastle Herald.
“We’ve got too much experience in there. The likes of [Nigel] Boogaard, [Nikolai] Topor-Stanley and [Glen] Moss, they won’t let us get our heads down.
“We’ll be back at it again on Wednesday. The positives [against Adelaide] were that we were very good, except for the result.
“We lost three points, sure, but we gained a lot out of how we played … we looked like the team that was firing last year.”
O’Donovan said Newcastle needed to learn from the mistakes they made against Adelaide, which coach Ernie Merrick said “seems to be the story of our lives”.
“I thought we played really well as a team, which means more than anything, but it’s frustrating,” O’Donovan said.
“I don’t know how we didn’t win that game, but football has a habit of biting you on the arse when you don’t take your chances.”
The Irish import said Newcastle would be aiming to lift the tempo against Brisbane.
“It comes down to service,” O’Donovan said.
“The quicker we get the ball into Dimi [Petratos], and Ronny [Vargas], the better team we are.
“When we started doing that in the second half, we looked great, which helped me out.”
O’Donovan was pleased to notch his first goal since completing the 10-game suspension he incurred after last season’s grand final.
He expects to continue improving as he gains match fitness and timing.
“It’s good to be back,” he said.
“I felt good, better even than last week.
“I couldn’t be happier that there’s another game coming up on Wednesday.
“That means I get match-sharp quicker.
“We’ve got four-and-a-half months of football to go, and really my season is just starting.
“I’m feeling good, feeling fresh.
“I’m looking to build on my two games so far.”
O’Donovan said “I had to take my medicine” during his suspension, which ruled him out of competitive matches for more than seven months.
“I worked hard, trained hard and tried to be the best teammate I can be, supporting people,” he said.
“Now I’m trying to be the best teammate I can be out on the pitch.”
Merrick said O’Donovan could easily have scored more than once against Adelaide, with a touch of luck.
“He got on the scoresheet twice, but one was offside,” Merrick said.
“He was very unlucky with his header … it was good to see Roy scoring.
“But we need more. It can’t come down to one person.
“It’s not about Roy from now on, it’s about Roy and everyone else.”
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