IN FORM: Melbourne Heart’s David Williams has scored five goals in his last two matches for the side.
IN FORM: Melbourne Heart’s David Williams has scored five goals in his last two matches for the side. GETTY IMAGES

Melbourne players finally show heart

THE revival of Melbourne Heart under interim coach John van't Schip has been nothing short of remarkable.

But while you have to respect what the Dutchman has achieved since taking over from the sacked John Aloisi, you have to spare a thought for the former Socceroo.

I just wonder what he would be thinking watching the team he helped create turn in one top performance after another following months of utter drivel during his much-maligned reign.

The team struggled under Aloisi in his first year as head coach.

The Heart finished ninth in that first season of his tenure, winning only one away game all


Aloisi's next campaign did not start much better, in fact it probably got worse, with the team managing no wins, four draws and six losses from 10 starts.

But what was most disappointing as Aloisi's reign came to an end on December 28 after

another defeat made it 17 games without victory, was the fact the team was not playing for Aloisi.

There seemed to be no passion, no attack on the ball and no structure.

But, amazingly, and I cannot get my head around this, van't Schip, in the space of seven games, has managed to turn that around and the Heart is now the form team of the A-League.

It still sits bottom of the table but, remarkably, is in with a chance of nabbing sixth spot and a place in the end-of-season playoffs.

Aloisi must be wondering what he did wrong for players to perform as they did under his reign.

I am sure it would have him questioning a lot of things to see how they are playing under van't Schip.

Aloisi does not seem to be the sort of person to moan about much but surely deep down he would be angry that the players could not do it for him while he was in charge.

Since his departure, the Heart has played seven games, lost one, drawn two and won four.

It has had victories in its past three games and has gone unbeaten in its past five.

That is championship form and if the Heart keeps it up then who knows where the side could be come the business end of the season.

Obviously van't Schip has had a lot to do with the transformation of form but the return of Dutch marquee midfielder Orlando

Engelaar, who missed the first part of the

season with a broken leg, has also helped the Heart.

Asked this week why the side has suddenly become the team to beat, Engelaar was at a loss to explain the turnaround.

"That's football," he said. "Things can just change with a snap of the fingers.

"Nothing special has to happen to make things turn around. That's the beauty of the game.

"There are a lot of factors involved. It's confidence, it's a bit of luck, it's form on the day.

"There are a few things that are important in football, but luckily in the last few weeks most of these factors have been positive ones for us."

The form of David Williams has also been a big plus, with the striker smashing in five goals in the past three games, including a hat-trick in last week's 5-0 thumping of Wellington Phoenix.

Goals have been the difference for the Heart with 14 coming in the seven games van't Schip has been in charge.

At the same stage of last season Perth Glory was on 19 points, one ahead of where the Heart is now. Perth was also bottom but went on to finish sixth and make the finals.

Continue in the same vein and the Heart could find themselves in a similar scenario but if that happens spare a thought for John Aloisi.

It was essentially his team after all.

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