Aloisi driven by Wanderers A-League feat

March 30, 2013
By Angela Habashy

John Aloisi says seeing fellow first-time head coach Tony Popovic win the A-League Premiers' Plate while his side finished near the bottom of the ladder has made him more determined than ever.

Having started the season with so much promise, Melbourne Heart ended it with a fifth-straight loss, going down 2-1 to the Central Coast on Saturday.

The Heart were reduced to 10 men in the first half after defender Patrick Gerhardt was given a red card for a contentious hand ball, with a furious Aloisi sent off himself after arguing with the referee over the decision.

The dismal finale now looks set to taint the Heart's opening game of next season with Aloisi facing a one-match suspension for dissent.

In the only tiny positive of the weekend for the Heart, they narrowly avoided the dreaded wooden spoon with Wellington Phoenix finishing bottom after their 3-2 loss to Melbourne Victory on Sunday.

Popovic's season with Western Sydney couldn't be any more different, his side posting a remarkable 11 wins in the last 12 games to clinch the history-making minor premiership.

A feat Aloisi says will drive him toward the same goal next year.

"This makes me so much hungrier for next year," the 37-year-old said.

"I congratulate Western Sydney, it's great to see them win, but I want to be there and the club wants to be there.

"So it makes me determined to make sure we're there celebrating at the end of the season and not in the position we're in now."

Aloisi will get the chance to revamp his side in the off-season with several senior players off contract.

Veteran `keeper Clint Bolton, defender Simon Colosimo, Brazilian marquee man Fred and utility Matt Thompson are among those whose contracts end this season.

He says while making key recruitments is his priority, he plans to head abroad to study how some of the best coaches work.

"It's disappointing where we ended up but we have to take some positives out of it ... when we did play well we played some of the best football in the league," he said.

"But I've learned a lot this year and I'll keep on learning.

"In the off-season I'll go overseas and visit a few clubs and see the way they do things and bring ideas back that will help me improve as a coach."