Heart under City microscope against Sydney
Representatives from Manchester City will be watching Melbourne Heart's first home game since the takeover with interest on Friday.
Representatives from Manchester City will be watching Melbourne Heart's first home game since the takeover with interest on Friday, but coach John van 't Schip says his players will be no more or less motivated than normal to perform against Sydney FC.
Heart drew 2-2 away to Adelaide United last weekend in their first outing since the announcement that English Premier League powerhouse City had purchased a controlling stake in the A-League club.
Heart now await the visit of the Sky Blues to AAMI Park, with Frank Farina's men fresh from a thumping 5-0 win over Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium last Sunday.
And Van 't Schip confirmed a delegation from City, who are themselves backed by the super-wealthy Abu Dhabi United Group, will be in the stands to observe their newest team's efforts.
"There will be some people, there are already people here the whole week talking with the people in the office," he said.
"For sure, now, it's their club. So there will be people from the organisation watching. It's important for everybody that we perform, but that has nothing to do with them now sitting here, we should have that (motivation) every time.
"They're watching, having talks with people in the club and preparing all kind of things for the coming months and hopefully the coming years. It's a project for the long term. That's why everybody can continue the next few months in working and finishing this season. And then after, there certainly will be changes."
Van 't Schip will make no immediate attempt to alter Heart's style of play to match the City model, claiming his philosophy fits in well with that of City's Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini and their Spanish director of football, former Barcelona man Txiki Begiristain.
"I have my way of how I want to play and I don't think that's a lot different than the way they think about playing," he said.
"Of course we're talking about (a difference in) quality but I still think with the players we have and with the thoughts about how football should be played we're on the right way and it's also the way that Manchester City like."
Alessandro Del Piero was the driving force for Sydney in their comprehensive win over Victory last weekend and is sure to be dangerous again on Friday, with Heart's coach rejecting suggestions teams offer the Italian veteran too much respect.
"He's smart," Van 't Schip said.
"He knows how to play the game, he knows where to find spaces, be important without making too many runs. We have to have respect for a player like Del Piero.
"If you can decide so many games when you're 39 and be important for your team, then there's only one thing and that's having respect for a player."
Van 't Schip confirmed defender Patrick Gerhardt and forward David Williams will be part of the squad after regaining fitness, but declined to comment on whether or not they would return to the starting XI, while Orlando Engelaar could be in with a chance of completing 90 minutes for the first time since his return from a broken leg.