Heart: Points over pride

Melbourne Heart's 3-2 derby win over Melbourne Victory means more than just bragging rights, with both coach John van 't Schip and goalscoring hero Matt Thompson saying the success was more value to their season than to their rivalry with the blue half of town.

Melbourne Heart's 3-2 derby win over Melbourne Victory means more than just bragging rights, with both coach John van 't Schip and goalscoring hero Matt Thompson saying the success was more value to their season than to their rivalry with the blue half of town.

Heart notched their sixth win in their past seven matches to power to second in the table, behind only Central Coast Mariners, despite trailing early in an entertaining match in front of a record AAMI Park crowd.

But while a win over Victory is always sweet, Thompson, who scored two goals in three minutes to turn the game on its head late in the first half, said it was a sign of the maturity of the team that it wasn't all about beating the traditional Hyundai A-League powerhouse.

"A win against anyone puts us second and here we are sitting second. I sat out there seven or eight weeks ago, we were sitting last and everyone was talking about what was going wrong with us," he said.

"In house we knew we were heading in the right direction and things didn't pan out for us. It was a just a matter of time and John (van 't Schip) kept saying it would come."

"Luck has come our way in a couple of games and here we are. We are not there yet, we still have to improve and the first half an hour wasn't good enough, but we are finding ways to win and we are becoming a hard team to beat."

Van 't Schip feels like the club had made huge steps this year, but isn't sure that the Heart can call themselves championship contenders just yet, despite their lofty position on the ladder.

"We are here and we are competitive and it's a long road to the championship," he said.

"If you look at all the games we are winning, it's close every time. We have to work very hard, and looking at the first thirty minutes this evening, we really had problems."

The coach said that it was a sign of the maturity of the team that they were able to overcome a shaky start to the game, when they conceded a penalty, had that saved and then still went 1-0 down, and get the three points.

"After we made it 1-1, we started playing and creating chances and started being better organised and dictating the game in the second half," he said.

Van 't Schip opted to start with a back three, rather than the usual back four and it was clear that his players were struggling to adapt.

"It gave a lot more clarity in the past, but the first thirty minutes we were we too far away from the ball and we decided to change and after that, we brought the full backs into the game and we started to play," he said.

The change reaped immediate dividends with Heart much more potent on the counter attack and Thompson able to find the space to score twice and change the game around.

Van 't Schip said it was about more than tactical changes, saying that the mentality of the team this season had enabled it to make better use of when the Heart have control of the game. He felt the maturity, both physically and mentally of his younger players, was vital to this.

"Creating character happens when you have some tough moments and we started this season with two losses and three draws," he said.

"We've kept on training hard and believing in what we were working towards and now it is paying off."

"But we have to keep on going. We are getting fitter and fitter and the young boys are getting stronger and the whole team lifts."