Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick gives up hope of making A-League finals
Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick has given up hope of making the A-League finals.
With four games remaining, the seventh-placed Jets are seven points adrift of Melbourne City in sixth spot.
"When you're in a situation of waiting for other teams to lose matches, I don't think you're in a good place," Merrick told reporters on Tuesday.
"I can't see anyone losing that many games, two more games than us.
"So I don't think we're going to make the finals and we're very disappointed by that.
"We feel as though we have let the club down, we have let the fans down."
Merrick said the Jets' slide from beaten Grand Finalists last season to missing the playoffs was easy to pinpoint: A lack of goals, and injuries to key attackers.
"The biggest problem we have had all year is scoring goals," he said.
"Although we have had a lot of strikers out, I still feel we did enough to create enough chances -- in fact I think we have had more shots on target than any team in the league.
"And it doesn't help when you lose Joey Champness for 14 weeks, Roy O'Donovan for eight, Ronny Vargas for five ... we have struggled to have a good forward line that is consistently there to take the scoring chances."
Merrick said while he would go full-throttle to win their remaining games, the Jets would also give opportunities to younger players.
"We have got 17 players signed. Of that 17 players, the average age is pretty young and those youngsters will start to get a run," he said.
"We're way ahead of just about every other club in regard to our signings, to have 17 players [signed] for another year.
"We will build on that. We're in a good position and there's a lot of good young talent here."