Melbourne Heart FC Assistant Coach Ante Milicic has described Friday’s clash against Gold Coast United as a ‘must-win’ for the side as the Hyundai A-League builds towards the finals.
Melbourne Heart FC Assistant Coach Ante Milicic has described Friday-s clash against Gold Coast United as a ‘must-win- for the side as the Hyundai A-League builds towards the finals.
After entering the New Year challenging for a double chance in the finals series, Heart has stagnated in recent weeks, struggling to recapture the form which saw the Red and White register seven wins in eight matches through November and December.
With six matches remaining, the race for a place in the Hyundai A-League Finals Series is certain to be tight, with only two points separating sixth place Heart from the seventh place Victory, highlighting the importance of snaring all three points this week.
“We need (momentum) at the moment. Friday has turned into must-win, let-s be honest. We really need to start winning at home, and this is a really good occasion for us,” he said.
“Hopefully, we-ll be able to get a couple of experienced boys back, but to play in front of our home crowd.
“It-s a Friday night game, which could work for us, it will put a little pressure on the teams chasing if we can get a result, but we are quite comfortable knowing we are back at home.”
While Heart-s recent struggles have been characterised by poor performances away from home, Milicic hopes the upcoming run of four matches in five weeks at AAMI Park will provide a boost to the Club-s fortunes.
“We haven-t travelled well recently (and) it was disappointing to lose in Newcastle. It was quite similar to the away defeat to Wellington,” he said.
“We started the game well, but once we went behind, lost control of the game for a period. It was disappointing we so easily lost that belief that we should have.
“This game can-t come soon enough for us on Friday. With a short turn around, it-ll hopefully do us some favours.”
Although keen to avoid generating excuses, Heart-s recent run has coincided with the extended absence of a number of the Club-s key stars including Fred, Matt Thompson and Olyroos, Aziz Behich, Mate Dugandzic and Jason Hoffman.
Milicic said: “They-ve been gone for a long period now…..and while for a game or two, you can cope, those two respective players are very crucial.
“They can create a lot of assists as well moving forward, and we-ve been a little short in that department over the last couple of games they-ve been missing.
“It-s quite obvious they-ve been missed, but it-s something we can-t change, and we need to deal with it.”