Tomorrow’s showdown against league leaders Western Sydney Wanderers looms as a do-or-die test for Melbourne Heart FC’s finals credentials, but Head Coach John Aloisi has drilled home the message that his charges have the ability and fortitude to knock the wind out of the Wanderers’ sails.
Tomorrow-s showdown against league leaders Western Sydney Wanderers looms as a do-or-die test for Melbourne Heart FC-s finals credentials, but Head Coach John Aloisi has drilled home the message that his charges have the ability and fortitude to knock the wind out of the Wanderers- sails.
While Tony Popovic-s team travels to Melbourne in seemingly unstoppable form on the back of nine consecutive wins, Aloisi recognises just how important the Round 25 Hyundai A-League clash at AAMI Park is for Heart-s finals fortunes, but insists his side is up to the task.
“We said about six weeks ago that every game was important from then on and this is no different,” Aloisi said.
“It-s a big game; an in-form team is coming in to play us and we-re looking forward to the challenge and I-m sure the boys are up for it.”
While Monday-s 2-0 loss against Adelaide United ended Heart-s unbeaten record at home in the new year, Aloisi has reiterated his team must match the Wanderers in terms of commitment.
"The message has been to compete," Aloisi said.
"We saw how well Wellington ended up playing against Western Sydney. They challenged for every 50-50 ball.
"That's the biggest thing against a side like Western Sydney because you know they're going to do that.
"We didn't do that the other night against Adelaide United; we didn't compete for every ball. That's the biggest thing; we can play good football, we've shown that here at home.”
While Aloisi is likely to ring the changes for the second consecutive week, Aloisi commented that the mood and intensity at training had been excellent.
"Morale's good. Of course everyone was disappointed in last week's performance and the result, but everyone wants to put that right and make sure these last three games we get as many points as possible to make finals,” Aloisi said.
While Japanese marquee Shinji Ono has been ruled out with hamstring tightness, Aloisi is wary of the danger the rampaging Wanderers pose.
"They've got a really good squad, they've got a good coach,” Aloisi said.
"When you get on a winning run like they are, the confidence seems to grow and they've been doing really well.
"Having worked with Popa [Western Sydney Head Coach Tony Popovic] I know what he was like as a player and then as a coach - I'm not surprised."