Expectations had risen in the Hunter Valley after Newcastle’s emphatic win against the Wellington Phoenix.
Newcastle coach Arthur Papas says there’s more to come from Valentino Yuel after the forward’s brace helped the Jets overcome a two-goal deficit to snatch a 2-2 draw against Sydney FC.
The Sky Blues raced ahead at Kogarah Oval with an Adam Le Fondre penalty and Elvis Kamsoba strike giving Steve Corica’s men a 2-0 lead after half an hour on Saturday.
But inspired by Yuel out on the left, the Jets hit back with the former Western United forward scoring twice in the space of eight minutes to earn them a valuable point.
Yuel, who enjoyed a running duel with Socceroos fullback Rhyan Grant, already has three goals so far this A-League Men’s season with Papas suggesting the 27-year-old has yet to scratch the surface of his ability.
“I’ve known Val from prior to coming to Newcastle and I don’t think he’s reached anywhere near what his ceiling is,” Papas said.
“I think you saw him take on a very good fullback and make it difficult for him.
“For him, it’s about not just having tricks but also having outcomes by setting up goals. I think he’s got a lot of improvement in him.
“The challenge for Val was about simplifying things in the final third so he’s not overthinking things and being more instinctive.
“He’s hard-working, he’s open to work, he gets his reward and the challenge will be for him to go and do it next week.”
Yuel is currently scoring at a rate of a goal every 57 minutes so far this season but he has yet to taste victory under Papas.
But the Jets coach, who returns home on Friday for a clash with Wellington, said he was seeing weekly improvements in his side’s application of his tactical blueprint.
“The spirit and intent is important and I’m pleased with aspects of the performance,” he said.
“There’s been large portions of all the games so far where we have played some really good football.
“When certain things don’t go to plan we need to be more resilient in those periods and we need to know how to not be on the wrong end of two goals because we switch off for five minutes.
“I know the process we need to keep continuing. It’s not an upward curve because anything towards success is up and down.
“I’m pleased with the unity, spirit and togetherness of our group. They have conviction about how they play and that makes me feel optimistic about what we’re doing.”