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Newcastle's Culina delighted with victory over Gold Coast

Newcastle Jets coach Branko Culina was clearly pleased after his side became the first to defeat Gold Coast United yesterday. The Jets home performance to cut down the high-flying United 1-0 was just what the doctor ordered after a disappointing 2-0 loss to the previously winless Perth Glory last weekend and Culina was proud of what his players achieved at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

"It was terrific," Culina said of the win. "I just looked at the statistics that said they had 59 percent of the ball. They might not have had that much quality possession but I thought the best chances fell to us.

"I was disappointed that we didn't convert one or two others because it was too close for comfort given the number of chances we had.

"The game plan was to focus on their weakness and you can work it out for yourself - it worked a treat for us. You can reveal what your opposition's weakness is but you still need to have good enough personnel to achieve it and I thought we had the team to take full advantage of that."

Culina, who was up against son Jason, said his knowledge of the United midfielder's game helped his team to no ends and also the marking of key striker Shane Smeltz went a long way to bringing about the result.

"We didn't allow them to play," added Culina. "Jason is by far the best player in the country - every time he gets the ball it is quality and he doesn't lose the ball easily and I am not just saying that because he is my son.

"We put pressure on him and we put pressure onto Shane (Smeltz) and if you put pressure on the supplier the guy at the other end is going to have difficult converting.

"It was a collective performance. It was important for us to press them from the middle and not give them time to look up and make the pass they want to.

"It was a good team performance but let's not get carried away it was just one win but we need to back it up against Melbourne next week because we've got a tough month of football ahead of us."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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