Tactical Rini keeps his Coolen

Adelaide coach Rini Coolen has described Friday's 2-0 win over Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park as the 'perfect' away performance after the impressive Dutchman pulled off one of the best tactical performances of his short career in charge of the Reds.

Adelaide coach Rini Coolen has described Friday's 2-0 win over Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park as the 'perfect' away performance after the impressive Dutchman pulled off one of the best tactical performances of his short career in charge of the Reds.

Under Coolen, the Reds had been notable for playing free-flowing football but after dropping three of their past four games, the coach changed his approach, and opted to sit back and absorb the pressure and hit his opposition on the counter attack.

Heart, renowned for their patient build-up and strong emphasis on passing, endured a frustrating night, especially with their talisman Matt Thompson, who played centre back, effectively marked out of the game by striker Sergio van Dijk.

Heart coach John van 't Schip admitted his team struggled to adapt to the change and said it played a crucial role in Adelaide's ability to sit on their early 1-0 lead.

Coolen praised the defensive commitment of all his players and said it was a measure of their quality that they were able to carry out the plan to the letter.

"It was an important win. We knew Melbourne Heart had been doing better and better over the past few weeks and playing good football. They've changed the way they have played, especially in the back four. I think in a tactical way we stopped them playing, it was a good performance for the team," he said.

"We talked about it a lot, how to work on defence as team. It's perfect if you see everything in the game what we talked about. We are happy not only for the result, but that we can do that for 90 minutes."

"We controlled the game, it was a good plan. I think tactically we are happy now, especially after not being happy for the past few games. If you play like that in an away game, it's more than fantastic."

Van 't Schip moved Thompson to the central defensive role in place of skipper Simon Colosimo about six weeks ago and Coolen felt the former Newcastle midfielder had become a vital part of not only the defence, but going forward.

"I saw them playing against Brisbane Roar. I saw some good moments from him coming out of the midfield, especially some crosses. We had to defend that and keep that out of the game, but also play your own game," he said.

Skipper Travis Dodd, who is gradually regaining fitness after an injury-interrupted start to the season, said the players were rapt to have come away with the three points.

"It's a good feeling, especially after the last few weeks, the way we got the result tonight and the way we've been playing over the last few weeks, it was important for us to pick up three points and stay in touch with Brisbane. A great team performance tonight and one we can be proud of," Dodd said.

"We had our tactics we wanted to play to, and it worked very well. We had our opportunities to score and we took them. I think from our front line, from Serg, to Galekovic and the back four, we held Melbourne Heart out really well."