Melbourne Heart FC will not be guilty of underestimating top six rival Perth Glory ahead of Sunday’s Hyundai A-League Elimination Final.
Melbourne Heart FC will not be guilty of underestimating top six rival Perth Glory ahead of Sunday-s Hyundai A-League Elimination Final.
General Manager, Football Operations, John Didulica, joined the chorus of Heart-s players and football staff preaching vigilance as they face a Glory side boasting the competition-s ultimate game breaker, Shane Smeltz.
Such is the threat of Smeltz, he single handedly guided his side to triumph over Melbourne Victory yesterday, netting every goal for his side in a 4-2 win.
“Perth had its critics at the start of year, but they have proved people wrong,” he said.
“You can't underestimate Perth. They have the best matchwinner in the league in Shane Smeltz, they're in front of their home crowd and they have some good players to come back into the side.
“But from a football point of view, we don't fear travel or playing away from home.”
In the final wash-up of Super Sunday, it conspired Heart-s inability to close out the contest ultimately cost the side a home match during the opening week of the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.
Finishing only three points shy of Wellington Phoenix, had Heart converted winning positions in its last two home matches against Sydney FC and the New Zealand-side, the Red and White-s would be staring down the prospect of a Friday night match at AAMI Park.
Instead, it-s a trip across the Nullarbor, and the Glory, who boast a winning record over Heart this season.
“It's finals football now and they're cup games and we've been in almost every game this season, so we're tough to beat, which means we're a chance,” he said.
“There's an element of disappointment that we didn't finish fifth to keep the door ajar for a final in Melbourne to reward our supporters.”
However, with Heart unbeaten in three outings at nib Stadium, the Melbourne-side remains quietly confident of claiming victory.
“There's no excuses at our end as to how far we can go,” he said.
“We'll have a full week's preparation; we've done this trip before, so there are no new challenges; every player on the list is fit; and we've got a settled first 11.
“Our record against other finalists is fantastic.”