Ex-Jets coach Stubbins denies Carney's claims

EXCLUSIVE | The former Newcastle boss is sick of listening to critics and claims statistics show he had the Jets ready to fire this season before being sacked

Former Newcastle Jets coach Phil Stubbins has lost patience with negative claims about his management and reckons the club has hardly improved in the 2015-16 A-League campaign.

The proclamation by Jets winger David Carney in November - but featured in a piece on Goal Australia last week - that "training was walking pace" under Stubbins has inspired the latter to speak out for the first time since he lost his job at Hunter Stadium.

The 53-year-old coach, who led Newcastle to the wooden spoon last season and the club's lowest ever tally of 17 points, argues perspective has been lost as pundits compare his Jets side to that of Scott Miller.

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Miller's Newcastle have not scored in their last five A-League matches, and their nine-game winless run sees them sitting eighth in the table ahead of Saturday's clash with Sydney FC.

Stubbins reckons his last six matches in charge show he could have hit the ground running in 2015-16.

"I left Australia almost immediately after the conclusion of last season's campaign and had agreed with a marquee player during my time spent in Europe, along with spending three days with another player in France, as well as being able to choose one more addition from two further visa players identified on that trip," he told Goal Australia. 

"I'm convinced that with these new additions for the following campaign that the team would have improved its effectiveness in a big way." 

It's understood the "player in France" was Sydney FC playmaker Milos Ninkovic.

While Stubbins concedes "mistakes were made" during his tenure, he argues the statistics show his young side improved at the end of last season and were performing much better than the current team.

In response to Carney's claims, Stubbins sent Goal Australia a summary of stats from his team's last six matches of the 2014-15 season and Newcastle's past six games this term.

Read more: Carney slams former coach Stubbins

To end last season, Newcastle defeated Western Sydney Wanderers and eventual champions Melbourne Victory, while losing to Adelaide United, Perth Glory, Sydney and Brisbane Roar by solitary goals.

Miller's men - by contrast - have two draws and four defeats in their last six games, with a goal difference of minus eight.

Comparing the two periods further, Stubbins' side managed 83 shots with 26 on target, scored seven goals and almost broke even with possession.

This season's side have produced 54 shots, 11 on target, one goal and a total possession difference of minus 41 per cent over the past six matches.

"There were mistakes made in the assembly of the squad [in 2014-15], there's no doubt about that and I hold my hand up in regards to being involved in that," Stubbins said. 

"I do think that later on in the season, however - when given the autonomy to bring players in [after management resignations in January] - that I thought we did that [well], with [Nigel] Boogaard, [Daniel] Mullen, Lee Ki-je, [Enver] Alivodic."

Stubbins added: "I recognise that last season was a tumultuous year at the Newcastle Jets and one that as a first year head coach in the A League came with some mistakes on my part but to also offer that it wasn't an easy project. 

"It's a tough gig - the Newcastle Jets - and the facts are that the club has struggled for the last five years without any finals football during that period."

After the toughest 12 months of his 21-year coaching career, Stubbins is now back in South Australia working with the football programmes of the Australian College of Sport and Prince Alfred College.

"It was disappointing to end my time with the Jets as it did but I've now got a spring in my step and a smile on my face," he said. 

"I've put the Newcastle Jets behind me but will use the experience to draw from whenever the time arises in the future."

While Stubbins knows his reputation has taken a hit after last year, he argues his previous work in the Victorian Premier League, the Thai Premier League, and as Adelaide United assistant coach should count for something in the future.

"If you take out the Newcastle Jets, the CV is actually not that bad," he said.