Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi accused his players of throwing in the towel in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Heart were convincingly outplayed for the large patches of the contest and, most disappointingly, were thoroughly out-hustled and outworked when their attack should have been at its fiercest in the second half.
Simon Colosimo’s 58th minute own-goal was the difference between the two sides, and instead of being fired up by going a goal down, the Heart retreated into their shell and allowed Adelaide to dictate terms completely, much to Aloisi’s annoyance.
“Disappointing loss because we gave them the game,” was the coach’s summation. “After they scored the goal we just stopped playing, stopped moving, stopped competing.
“What I mean by ‘stopped playing’ is showing for the ball, wanting the ball, when a player is on the ball making an angle for him … giving him an option, when we’re in the midfield making forward runs.
“We just didn’t do that at all after it was 1-0.
“That’s the thing I’m disappointed about.
“We lost games earlier on in the year against Western Sydney and the Mariners, (but) at least we were in the game.
“You can go a goal down but you can’t stop playing and that’s what I’m disappointed in.”
Despite the Reds’ overall ascendancy, Heart had their moments, primarily in the first half and then immediately after the interval when former Hull City stalwart Richard Garcia was prominent.
“We thought we started the second half especially pretty well,” Aloisi said. “We were on top of them, kept control of the game, started to create some good openings.
“Then we made that mistake and after that it was all over.
“It’s not physical because last week (against Brisbane Roar) we didn’t stop playing. The week before against Western Sydney when we were two down we didn’t stop playing.
“We kept on trying, created opportunities.
“You could see on goal kicks, we weren’t even competing.
“(I’m) not happy about it all – they’ll have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
In order to prevent such a fade out occurring again, Aloisi has threatened to wield the axe with several sidelined players due to come back in.
Skipper Fred is a near-certainty to return from a hamstring injury next Sunday against Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park, as are Ben Garuccio and David Vrankovic, who have been on national Under-20 duties.
Socceroo great Vince Grella and talented Argentinian midfielder Jonatan Germano (calf) will be eased back in longer term.
“I’ve got players coming back in,” Aloisi said. “I had seven players unavailable for selection.
“I can easily make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“Once I have a full squad, there will be competition for places. That’s an easy way to do it.”