Macarthur FC coach Ante Milicic is seeking improvement in every area as the A-League’s newest club and surprise early season pacesetters draw breath before the ultimate litmus test against Sydney FC.
The fledgling club moved to the top of the table with Sunday’s 2-1 away victory over Newcastle.
Macarthur are on seven points but have played more games than every other team – being the only side to have had a fixture in each of the first four weeks of the competition.
Having already faced each of their other three NSW rivals plus Wellington, they don’t play again until a January 31 home assignment against two-time defending champions Sydney.
Milicic said Macarthur could improve every aspect of their game and pinpointed one specific area.
“We’re nowhere near our best, we know we will improve,” Milicic said
“The second half (against Newcastle) we let the game become transition, it looked more like a basketball game on our half.
“We gave the ball away too easily, we didn’t get the numbers right, so that’s a definite area that we need to improve on, the transition aspect of the game.”
Getting his players more match conditioned and familiar with his style of play are ongoing issues for Milicic.
“A lot of our boys, their last games (before the A-League season) were pre-Covid, so we’re looking at January, February, March,” Milicic said.
“They’ve missed a lot of football, so those match minutes aren’t there in their legs.
“It’s going to take a while for the boys to fully understand how we want to play but, also me, I’ve got to get to know the boys a little bit better and that will come with time.”
Milicic was looking at playing either an in-house match or a game against an NPL side next week.
While Macarthur have a decent break between matches, Newcastle host Brisbane on Wednesday before they meet Wellington in Wollongong on Sunday.
Jets coach Craig Deans acknowledged the continued strong early season form of emerging players Ramy Najjarine and Valentino Yuel, but found it hard to extract positives despite dominating the last hour against Macarthur.
Newcastle have produced good patches of play in all three of their games but have nothing to show for their efforts in the points and wins columns.
“At the moment it’s very hard to go past the fact that we lost another game and the manner we lost is pretty soul destroying,” Deans said.