Although Melbourne Heart’s first two matches have only yielded one point on the A-League ladder, patience is the order of the day.
‘It would be strange after two games if we were already playing the game that I had in mind,’ coach John van 't Schip said after training on Tuesday.
‘It’s good that we see that we have to keep working and find the improvement that we need, otherwise I could take my suitcase and go because my work would be done. That work will be going on all year, we’ve only just started.
‘It’s a difficult way of playing because it’s about creating. It’s easier to defend and be destructive but it’s much more difficult to create, to try to find space, to play the game.
‘That’s our path and the way we want to play and it’s going to take time.’
Having signalled his intent to have the Heart playing an attacking, technical style, van 't Schip is aware teams will prepare accordingly but the former Ajax man suggested there was never going to be much of a surprise factor.
‘I’m not going to hide things, everybody knows where I come from, where I grew up, what kind of game I used to play,’ he said.
Many teams may therefore sit back and counter-attack but it is all part of playing in such a fashion.
‘We’re going to have to deal with that kind of opposition sometimes,’ he said. ‘It’s not said that every team is going to adjust and just sit down, there are a lot of teams that are going to attack as well and then it’s up to us to have a good defence.’
The Dutchman expects to encounter such a side when travelling to face Adelaide United this Friday night. He knows the Reds’ coach Rini Coolen from his time in charge of FC Twente when his counterpart watched over the second team.
Coolen has only been in the job for just over a month, but faces a similar challenge moulding his squad. What he lacks in preparation time he makes up by having a more settled unit.
‘Yeah, that’s an advantage for him,’ van 't Schip said. ‘They’re used to a certain way of playing, for now he’s leaving that and wants to change it a little more.
‘He maybe has to do it at a slower place because the team was already playing a certain way, but you should ask him.’
Star midfielder Josip Skoko will miss after injuring his hamstring against the Jets last weekend. The club’s marquee signing will be out for at least four weeks but van 't Schip is confident the gap can be covered.
‘We have to deal with that, that’s how football goes. You have a squad and in the squad we have good replacement players,’ he said.
Wayne Srhoj is the leading contender to step into that role, although van 't Schip is keeping his cards close to his chest.
‘Could be. We have other options as well, but Wayne of course is a player with a lot of experience in A-League games and plays in that role as well.
‘There are a few other options but I don’t have to tell you.’