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Heart coach wants free football

January 04, 2014 11:33:02 UK

Melbourne Heart’s Massimo Murdocca.

John van ‘t Schip’s message to his Melbourne Heart players ahead of his first game back in charge will be music to their ears – go out and enjoy yourselves.

The Dutchman has returned from Europe to take the reins until the end of the season after John Aloisi was sacked.

Van ‘t Schip was Heart’s inaugural coach when they joined the A-League for the start of the 2010-11 season, and guided them into the finals in his second year by securing a sixth-place finish.

For me and the players and the club, it’s important to win games and get results but most importantly to start playing some more free football.

John van ‘t Schip

He walked away from the club at the end of that campaign, citing personal reasons, but with Aloisi having failed to win any of his last 17 games in charge Heart have turned to him to try to rescue their season.

Van ‘t Schip’s final season in charge saw Heart on a roller-coaster. They set a club record of five straight wins up to the end of 2011, followed immediately by a longest winless streak of eight games, and then set another club record by going six matches undefeated.

His instructions to the side ahead of the game against Central Coast Mariners on Sunday are to play with more freedom.

Van ‘t Schip said: “For me and the players and the club, it’s important to win games and get results but most importantly to start playing some more free football.

“It’s a mindset and the mindset has to change: in enjoying being on the pitch and expressing yourself as an individual and as a team.”

The club have been virtually written off by the pundits for the season, lying nine points adrift at the bottom of the table and a further five points away from a top-six spot.

On taking charge of training for the first time on Friday, though, van ‘t Schip said he was not ruling out a finals series berth.

“We know that we’re in a difficult position to reach the playoffs but the main thing is to start playing good football again and if you do that, the results will normally follow,” he added.

Melbourne Heart are 5.50 to beat Central Coast on Sunday, the Mariners are 1.57 to come out on top and the draw is 4.10

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