Newcastle Jets coach Phil Stubbins feels his side have taken a couple of steps back and blamed fatigue for their crushing loss to Melbourne City on Tuesday.
The Jets were blasted away inside the first 25 minutes, conceding three goals on the way to a heavy 5-2 defeat at Hunter Stadium.
Having had to back up less than three days after their heart-breaking late loss to Melbourne Victory, Stubbins believe the short turnaround was a big factor in his side’s poor display.
“The workload we had against Victory took it out of the boys. We travelled back (from Melbourne) on Sunday, got in for recovery (on Monday) and then back up today but we just didn’t back up,” Stubbins said.
“It’s that simple. We weren’t really at the races from the get go. We were 3-0 down before we could get a foothold in the game.
“I put tonight down to fatigue…the boys a pretty much out on their feet. Physically the A-League now is a very demanding competition. For our boys, backing up was very difficult.
“We made some bad mistakes tonight but it’s not to say we can’t re-gather. It’s about trying to move forward. We’re all trying.”
Despite the short turnaround, Stubbins opted not to make too many changes to his starting side, with the exception of David Carney.
Asked if he erred by not bringing in fresh legs, Stubbins said: “Hindsight’s a great thing.
“Possibly we could have changed it up but who do you bring in? We could have brought in Kew (Jaliens) but then who do you leave out at the back?
“It did flash across our mind but we decided to go with the boys that did well the last two games. It didn’t backfire they just didn’t perform.”
City’s star players made the difference on Tuesday, with Robert Koren (hat-trick), Damien Duff and Aaron Mooy grabbing the goals.
“Not only do they have players that start the game but the players they bring off the bench have the speed, power and dynamism which is hard to contain,” Stubbins said of City.
“They’ve got a good group there and have improved over the last month.”
To the Jets’ credit they didn’t throw in the towel after their first-half capitulation and scored two goals of their own after the break through Edson Montano and Jeronimo Neumann.
Stubbins revealed he would “freshen things up” for the clash with Sydney FC on Saturday and confirmed Neumann would come into the starting line-up after his second goal in three games.