Youth in Focus: Palatsides excited by NYL progress


Melbourne Heart FC’s National Youth League side registered an excellent performance against Newcastle Jets on Sunday, pleasing Coach Joe Palatsides.

After two matches without a win, Melbourne Heart’s National Youth League side produced its best performance of the season on Sunday to brush aside Newcastle Jets 3-0.

Facing a Jets side that featured a host of senior players, including former Heart full-back Craig Goodwin, James Virgili and Jacob Pepper, who had all made an impression in the Hyundai A-League match the night before, coach Joe Palatsides was particularly impressed with his side’s progress.

As a breeding ground for Heart’s newest talent, Palatsides prasied both the team and individual performances on the weekend.

“I think I-m happy with the performance, we-re always happy when we win, [but] there was a big difference in the way we played to the way we were playing in the last couple of weeks,” Palatsides reflected on Sunday.

“The players are slowly coming to grips with what we-ve been asking them to do and I think that in the last 45 minutes that-s the best we-ve played all year.

“We were focussed on really setting the tempo from the first five minutes and that-s what we said in the dressing before we went out.

“We knew that what we worked on throughout the week, that if our structure was good we can play against any team in the league and do quite well against them, it was just a matter of the boys being switched on and starting from the first minute.”

Paulo Retre was partly responsible for kick-starting Heart’s strong opening with a flashy strike into the top corner for the pick of Heart’s goals so far this season.

“Obviously scoring early gave us a bit of confidence and we just went on from there and I think it was a well-deserved victory and a very good performance as well,” Palatsides said.

“That-s probably Paul-s best game for us. He-s been having back problems for a while so as we were going along he-s getting a bit better and his back has been loosing up a bit and when that happens he is a good playe.

However, Palatsides reiterated the team’s overall performance on the day.

“It was really hard to find a player that didn-t perform, especially in the first-half, to the expectations that we have at Melbourne Heart, so all the players did exceptionally well,” Palatsides said.

“I-m really pleased with the whole bunch, even the guys that came on added a bit to the team when we were a bit tired.”

One of those players injected into the match in the final half hour was substitute Zac Walker who opened his account for the new season, while there were strong performances from goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, Evan Batsis, GolGol Mebrahtu and Will Abbott.

“I was really pleased of the way they defended and that was part of the structure that we set out at the start of the year that first we-ll get out defensive side right then we-ll work on the rest of it from that point on<" Palatsides said.

“It was a really good team effort so we-ll try and build from that, this week we go to Sydney so hopefully we can string a few wins together now.