Head Coach John van ‘t Schip hailed Eli Babalj’s impact after the youngster played a pivotal role in Melbourne Heart FC’s 3-0 win over the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park.
Head Coach John van ‘t Schip hailed Eli Babalj-s impact after the youngster played a pivotal role in Melbourne Heart FC-s 3-0 win over the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park.
A 55th minute replacement for Brazilian Maycon, Babalj-s introduction turned the tide of the contest, with the imposing target man immediately providing a focal point for the Heart attack, providing an assist for Captain Fred-s opener.
Having suffered an interrupted pre-season, van ‘t Schip nursed Babalj back to action, with the 19-year-old making two appearances in the National Youth League before making featuring in Saturday-s match.
'Eli has been having a difficult time with lots of injuries and we have to manage him very carefully,'' van't Schip said. '
'Knowing that in the second half the space gets bigger in games there was an opportunity to use him today and he showed his qualities by helping set up the goal for Fred.''
"We have to manage him very carefully. You could see he maybe lacked a little bit of sharpness but still then he is a dangerous player, a real striker, still young. So hopefully he can make his next few steps as well."
After undergoing recovery today, the playing group will enjoy a rest day on Monday before returning to action ahead of their trip to the Gold Coast on Thursday afternoon.