Heart brought back down to earth

Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip said it was too hard to tell whether or not their thumping 3-1 loss to a resurgent Adelaide United was just a hiccup following a rich recent vein of form.

Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip said it was too hard to tell whether or not their thumping 3-1 loss to a resurgent Adelaide United was just a hiccup following a rich recent vein of form.

Heart won seven of their previous eight matches heading into the encounter with the Reds in a run that saw them rise to second spot on the Hyundai A-League table.

But van 't Schip's men were brought back down to earth with a thud at AAMI Park and warned they weren't guaranteed to recapture their winning form.

"We won against all the opponents (in that run) except against Adelaide and Central Coast in this league, but we can lose to everybody as well," van 't Schip said post-match.

"It's something that we have to know, we have to work on, it's a very competitive league."

"We did very well, we want to go as high as possible but it's not said that 'OK, this was only one game and from now on we start making the run again of six wins'."

While van 't Schip was heartened by the amount of dangerous opportunities his team created in front of goal, he lamented their inability to convert the vast majority of them.

"From nearby there were a few chances that we got and couldn't create (goals from) and the positive thing (is) that even (when) we were down 2-0 (and) 3-0, we kept on believing in a good end of the game and kept on going and creating chances," van 't Schip said.

"Alex (Terra) had a good header, Eli (Babalj) had a good opportunity from nearby that he hit over the crossbar and Curtis (Good) had a very good opportunity with a shot from nearby."

"Those were all very clear goal chances but you need a little bit (of) luck to get back into the game and maybe if we had made that 2-1 earlier on a lot still could have happened but it didn't and they went away with a third goal."

An inability to capitalise on a very strong start to the match also came back to haunt the Heart, according to van 't Schip.

"You know if you don't continue playing like that and don't go ahead that the opponent slowly can come back into the game," the Dutchman said.

"If you look at that part (of the game), we were playing very well, aggressive, they couldn't come out of their defence and could hardly keep the ball in possession."

"But a game is 90 minutes and part of it is that we helped them into the game ourselves with a penalty, of course, and I must say in that part they were already playing a little bit better, coming more into the game and we couldn't really come back to that play that we had (in) the first part."

"Overall they were playing a little bit smarter."

Adelaide's first goal came from the penalty spot after Simon Colosimo brought down Bruce Djite on the edge of the area in the 38th minute and van 't Schip described the challenge on the Adelaide striker as needless.

"It wasn't necessary to make it (a foul) there because he (Djite) couldn't go anywhere, (you could) just keep him in front of you," van 't Schip said.

Colosimo appeared to badly injure his left knee in the incident and needed to be subbed off before half-time, but van 't Schip couldn't shed any light on the extent of the damage.

The Heart boss said his team was also hurt by the absence of their talismanic skipper Fred who sat out the clash with a groin injury.

"He's a very motivating player on the pitch for the whole team," van 't Schip said.

"He's a player that all the players look up at and missing him is always going to make the team play different."

"When we got into difficult moments, that's when a player like Fred can help the team through a difficult period and today we didn't have that kind of player so we couldn't do it altogether as a team."

"In that circumstance you can say, 'yeah, a player like him is important'."