NEWCASTLE Jets coach Arthur Papas believes his new-look outfit simply need games together after they were punished for their mistakes by a clinical Sydney FC.
In their first hit out against A-League opposition - a modified trial played over three 45-minute periods - the Jets went down 5-0 in Sydney on Tuesday.
"The result was disappointing," Papas said. "But the result doesn't always befit the performance.
"I was pleased with a lot of aspects. There were a lot of positives. We created some really good chances.
"We also got punished for some pretty poor errors.
"At the other end, we hit the post a few times and weren't scoring goals.
"It was a perfect test for us. The perfect opponent, the benchmark team in the league.
"I said to the players at half time - that is a team that has been together four years. This is a team who is playing their first game together against a professional opponent.
"We get to build on that and play more games."
The Jets travel to Sydney to take on NSW NPL side APIA Leichhardt on Saturday and Macarthur (November 6) before their FFA Cup round-of-32 qualifier against Western United in Melbourne on November 13.
They kick off their A-League campaign against arch rivals the Central Coast at McDonald Jones Stadium on November 21.
The Mariners beat Macarthur 3-1 in a friendly on Tuesday.
"My main thing is to make sure on a daily basis we are improving," Papas said.
"We know what points we need to focus on now."
In an up-tempo and at times fiery contest, Elvis Kamsoba and Max Burgess swooped on mistakes to give Sydney a 2-0 lead at the first break.
Marquee men Adam Le Fondre and Kosta Barbarouses struck in the second period to double the Sky Blues' advantage before Trent Buhagiar completed the scoring.
For the Jets, Beka Mikeltadze, Savvas Siatravanis, Valentino Yuel and Jordan O'Doherty were denied by the woodwork.
"I thought some of our movement was positive," Papas said. "Our ability to get in behind them and create chances was positive. Overall, we need to be a bit sharper. The precision of our first touch and our passing needs to be better. You get punished for it very quickly."
After a 2020-21 campaign in which the Jets just avoided the wooden spoon, new coach Arthur Papas overhauled the roster and welcomed 15 fresh faces.
They have been training since July, but due to COVID restrictions had been unable to test themselves against opposition teams.
After an easing of the public health order last week, the Jets had two short hit outs against Northern NSW club Broadmeadow Magic, which they won comfortably.
However, it was a big step up to heavyweights Sydney, who were coming off a 5-0 win over Macarthur.
"Sydney had three new players - Elvis Kamsoba, Max Burgess and James Donachie. The rest have been together for for years," Papas said.
"It was a great experience for a lot of our guys who were playing together against a professional team for the the first time. There wasn't anything that surprised us.
"We know we have to keep getting better, keep working.
"We got 90 minutes into a lot of them, we got 75 minutes into a lot of them ... that is the first time we had to do that against an A-League team."
Papas said keeper jack Duncan did well considering the scoreline and also highlighted the efforts of Kosta Grozos, Siatravanis, Boumal and Mo Al-Taay.
Meanwhile, Macarthur have moved swiftly to fill the void left by captain Adam Federici's unexpected retirement, signing Filip Kurto.
Kurto joins the Bulls after previous stints at Western United and Wellington Phoenix.
The signing of the 190cm Polish goalkeeper comes just days after ex-Socceroos shot-stopper Federici announced he was hanging up his gloves with immediate effect due to injury.
That decision left Macarthur with only 21-year-old Nick Suman on their books as senior goalkeepers.
Kurto, 30, was named goalkeeper of the year after an impressive campaign with the Phoenix in 2018-19 but was released by Western United in June after an injury-marred season which included repeated bouts of concussion.
Bulls coach Ante Milicic said Kurto's experience will be a plus for his side heading into the new campaign.
"Filip will bring his invaluable European and A-League knowledge and experience to our squad," Milicic said.
"Alongside Nick Suman he will give us tremendous security in the goalkeeping department.
"He has been outstanding in his A-League journey so far and I look forward to watching what he can bring under the guidance of myself and (goalkeeping coach) Glen Moss for the upcoming season."
Macarthur open their second ALM season against the Phoenix at Campbelltown Stadium on November 21.
IN THE NEWS:
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: