Van 't Schip: Heart now belong

He stopped short of labelling them genuine title contenders but Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip believes his side's demolition of Sydney FC proves they have come of age as an Hyundai A-League club.

He stopped short of labelling them genuine title contenders but Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip believes his side's demolition of Sydney FC proves they have come of age as an Hyundai A-League club.

Heart made it five wins on the trot with a 4-0 thumping of the Sky Blues, which gives them a four-point buffer in second spot from the Brisbane Roar.

It was Heart's biggest ever A-League win and puts them right on the tail of league leaders Central Coast, who sit just two points ahead.

While Heart have gone very much under the radar this season, particularly in Melbourne where Harry Kewell and the Victory get most of the headlines, van 't Schip said the win over Sydney only reinforces his side now belong as an A-League club.

Asked what statement the club's biggest ever win makes for the rest of the league, van 't Schip declared: "It shows that we're a club that has to be taken serious."

"It's our second year now, last year we played decent football but this year we're playing in a different way because we've got different players."

"We're integrated fully in the league now. That's the sign we've given (tonight)."

"We know things can change very quickly though. You only have to look at Brisbane."

"It can happen to the Central Coast, it can happen to us. We have to be sharp in every game and every training."

"We can enjoy the moment but don't throw it away by thinking we're already there."

Indeed Heart didn't have it all their own way against Sydney despite the scoreline, overcoming a difficult first half an hour before grabbing the vital opening goal through Eli Babalj.

A second to Mate Dugandzic in first half stoppage time gave van 't Schip's side a nice buffer before substitutes Jason Hoffman and Alex Terra completed the rout in the second half.

While delighted with the result and aspects of his side's performance, van 't Schip rejected claims his side did it easy.

"If you look at the first 20-30 minutes it didn't look like that at all," the Heart boss said.

"But games always have different parts and after we struggled in the first part, we changed the formation and got more control of the midfield and scored soon after."

"Once we got control over the game, we made second goal just before halftime which was very important."

While the Sky Blues slumped to their heaviest home defeat ever and missed the opportunity to leap-frog the Heart into second spot, stand-in skipper Brett Emerton said the Sky Blues could take plenty of positives from the match.

"I don't know how we're sitting here losing 4-0," he said.

"For me that first half was one of the best 45 minutes we have played this season and we go in 2-0 down."

"It's difficult to take and we're all disappointed."

"It's a test of character but we've showed already this season that there's character in this team."

"This is another test and we need to bounce back in Wellington."

Sydney boss Vitezslav Lavicka added: "We won't give up the season....we have strong players."

"We'll analyse the game, try and be strong and try and pick up a good result against Wellington."

"I'm expecting a strong response from the team."