Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi is refusing to give up hope on making this season’s A-League finals.
After a 3-1 loss to Western Sydney, the Heart are ninth on the ladder and must win their final two matches against Brisbane and Central Coast to have any realistic chance of finishing in the top six.
But both of those fixtures are away from home and the Melbourne side are going to have to undergo a dramatic transformation on the road if they are to secure the maximum six points on offer given they have collected just one point outside of the Victorian capital this season.
“We can’t give up because that’s not in my nature to give up,” Aloisi said following the Heart’s 3-1 loss to the Wanderers.
“We’ll keep on fighting to the end and we will make sure that we give everything to try and get a result next week against Brisbane.
“Our away form hasn’t been great … (but) why not win two away from home now?
“I learned (against Western Sydney) that my players won’t give up, they kept on trying right until the end.
“So I know that we’re still able to go Brisbane and give everything to get a result.”
Richard Garcia appeared to put the Heart up 2-1 after he nodded in a header just before half-time but the goal was disallowed because Josip Tadic was ruled offside.
And while Aloisi wasn’t convinced the linesman made the correct call, he refused to use that as an excuse for their defeat.
“The way I saw it was he (Garcia) headed the ball and Josip was there but I don’t think he was interfering with play,” Aloisi said.
“Those decisions sometimes go for you, sometimes they go against you.
“What I saw, he didn’t touch the ball, Josip, and I don’t think he was in (Wanderers goalkeeper Ante) Covic’s way but, look, I’m not blaming the official for making that decision.”
Aloisi made five changes to his starting line-up that lost to Adelaide 2-0 last week but denied the omitted quintet of Jamie Coyne, David Vrankovic, Marcel Meeuwis, Nick Kalmar and David Williams were solely to blame for that result.
The Heart boss was full of praise for the Wanderers who, in their debut season, have extended their A-League record winning run to 10 consecutive matches and will be crowned premiers if Central Coast don’t beat Brisbane on Sunday.
“They (Western Sydney) are actually going through a great run, they believed that they would get a result no matter how they were playing,” Aloisi said.
“If you look before the (Wanderers’) second goal (to put them up 2-1), you wouldn’t have picked that they were going to win that game.
“But obviously when things are going your way, players believe a little bit more and I think that was the difference tonight.
“What they do, they do well.
“They’re very solid, they’re hard to break down, they win a lot of second balls and they are just focused throughout the whole game, no matter how the game is going – even if they’re getting dominated by the opposition.
“They don’t lose their shape, they don’t lose their belief … they actually enjoy defending.”