Melbourne Heart fans found their voice against Sydney FC, but the words were not what coach John Aloisi wanted to hear.
Whether it was ‘Aloisi Out’ or ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ preceding the final whistle, ‘Let’s pretend we scored a goal’ or the loud booing that marked half and full time, Aloisi could not have missed the message.
Heart were purposeless and without shape against Sydney, losing 2-0 after first half goals to Alessandro Del Piero and Joel Chianese.
Aloisi couldn’t defend his side’s performance after the match, arguably Heart’s worst of the season, and accepted responsibility.
“I know that the group, they won’t give up … we’ll work hard to make things right,” he said.
“In the other games my message has been getting through very well.”
“Tonight, I understand the performance wasn’t acceptable from our club. We don’t want to be in this position, we don’t want to be losing games, or putting in positions like that.”
“I accept that I’m the one the buck stops with.”
The reality is grim for Aloisi – last in the league, without a win in eleven games and without a goal in more than six hours of football.
In fact, the die was cast after Del Piero’s 27th minute penalty as Heart under Aloisi have lost every game they’ve fallen behind in.
Responding to the fans, which also included an ‘Aloisi Out’ banner, Aloisi was sympathetic.
“I can understand their frustration. They don’t want to see their team down the bottom.”
“With a performance like that, they’ve got every right to show their frustration.”
His conqueror, Frank Farina, takes three valuable points back to Sydney which takes his side third.
It was Sydney FC’s first win at AAMI Park and just their second over Heart in four seasons.
Sacked himself at Brisbane Roar in 2009, Farina had kind words for the Heart boss.
“He’s doing his best, what he believes is going to be good for the team,” he said.
“We’ve got to remember it’s a game. Pressure is not having a place to live in, or having an illness or having your family sick. That’s pressure.”
“Football’s a game, it’s a game I love and I’ve been paid money to play it, coach it, you’ve got to put it in perspective.
“Unfortunately as a football coach, when the team loses it seems to be your fault, when they win it’s great play or great players.”
Farina has rebounded sharply after three losses to win against Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart over the last fortnight, easing pressure from his own shoulders.
“Two wins is great but we’ve got to try and get that consistency and maintain it,” he said.
“Inside the team, rest assured there’s a real belief, we’ve got some great winners in there, and great leaders.”
Sydney FC hosts Wellington Phoenix next weekend while Heart travel to Newcastle for another critical game.