Don't underestimate Wanderers: Aloisi

November 13, 2012
By Angela Habashy

Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi believes A-League newcomers Western Sydney are as competitive as any team this season and warns those who underestimate them do so at their own peril.

The Wanderers defeated Melbourne Heart 2-1 on Friday night, backing up from their shock victory over Brisbane last week for their first home win.

Heading into Friday's match, both teams were equal on four points, sitting near the bottom of the ladder having only managed one win so far.

The Heart were searching for a win since kicking-off the season by beating cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory but it was Western Sydney who took home the three points at Parramatta Stadium to rocket into the top six for the first time.

Mark Bridge, who netted the Wanderers' first goal to secure victory over the Roar, opening the scoring on Friday.

He remains the only Western Sydney player to have found the back of the net after Heart's defender Patrick Gerhardt gifted the hosts their second of the match with an own goal before Croatian striker Josip Tadic pulled one back for the visitors.

Aloisi believes the Wanderers have proven they're as tough an opponent as any other.

"Western Sydney showed last week how strong they were to beat Brisbane up in Brisbane so they're not an easy team," he said.

"It's hard to create chances against Western Sydney - they're pretty well organised."

Many dismissed the rookie team who were hurriedly assembled in the off season and didn't have the luxury of months of training together.

Aloisi says the Wanderers' squad - boasting key imports in Japanese star Shinji Ono and impressive Dutchman Youssouf Hersi, along with A-League stalwarts like skipper Michael Beauchamp, striker Mark Bridge and former Newcastle players Labinot Haliti and Nikolai Topor-Stanley - are not to be taken lightly.

And with first-time head coach Tony Popovic at the helm, they are a force to be reckoned with.

"You look at their starting 11 - they're as good as any," Aloisi said.

"So underestimating them, underestimating Popa, I think that would be really silly to do that.

"Popa's proven throughout his career that he's very prepared as a player and also when he was assistant coach at Sydney FC and at Crystal Palace.

"So I don't think anyone underestimated them, we certainly didn't and I think they'll continue to do well ... they're a good side."