Tactical shift backfires on Jets as Craig Deans plays the long game

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Following a 3-1 defeat at home to Melbourne City on Sunday afternoon, Craig Deans was adamant that his change to three at the back wasn’t the cause of Newcastle’s third loss of the season.

The Jets have never defeated Melbourne City in the W-League, and Sunday was no exception.

“It wasn’t as bad a performance as the scoreline suggests, but they’ve got a lot of very good players and you need to be at your best to beat them,” Deans said.

City have proved a force to be reckoned with ever since they entered the competition in 2015, winning the competition three times in three seasons.

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Deans opted for a three at the back, which was a more attacking and proactive approach to the game.

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“Obviously we took a risk and played three at the back. I’d rather take a risk and try to win the game rather than sit back,” he continued.

“The formation suits the players that we have at the moment.

“I think it puts people like Taylor (Smith) in better positions to attack rather than having to come from fullback or receive a ball under pressure from a defender.

“Katie (Stengel) isn’t isolated up front by herself either.”

Larissa Crummer, Cass Davis and Hannah Brewer operated as the central defenders, with Taylor Smith and Gema Simon making overlapping runs and providing width as wingbacks.

The result of this approach was mixed. At times the Jets seemed to make City uncomfortable with the overload in midfield, but also looked defensively vulnerable on occasion – especially in wider areas. City’s opening goal is a good example of this.

 

Deans admitted that these tactical tweaks can take a number of games to be fully implemented.

“Little changes like that maybe take a bit of time to work properly.”

Feature Image Credit: Sproule Sports Focus

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Harry Keating
Intern at The Football Sack covering The Newcastle Jets A-League and W-League home matches!