Engelaar: Defenders behind Heart improvement

Melbourne Heart marquee midfielder Orlando Engelaar has claimed the Red and Whites' defenders deserve more credit for the club's breakthrough win last week.

While Mate Dugandzic, Harry Kewell and Iain Ramsay have received plenty of plaudits for their key roles in Heart's three goals in their 3-1 win over Newcastle Jets, Engelaar believes central defensive pairing Patrick Gerhardt and Robbie Wielaert deserve 'some credit too'.

Heart have the worst defensive record so far in this A-League season with 26 goals conceded in 15 games.

But having let just five goals in their past four matches, Heart have turned a corner defensively, according to Engelaar.

"I thought Patrick Gerhardt had a very good game, Robbie (Weilart) had a good game (versus Newcastle)," the 34-year-old Dutch midfielder said on Wednesday.

"You know, the defence was very solid...I think the defence deserves some credit too.

"You know, because I think they defended really solid and I think that's where it starts. You have to defend solid and not concede goals to win games."

The win last Friday ended Heart's 19-game streak without victory, while it also marked Engelaar's A-League debut with the former PSV Eindhoven and Schalke midfielder making his return from a broken leg, which had kept him on the sidelines since August.

Engelaar had only played 30 minutes of a National Youth League game before returning to senior football and conceded he was slightly off the pace against the Jets.

"My leg was ok. That was something I didn't even think about, so that says a lot and I felt pretty comfortable," Engelaar said.

"It's just, it's always hard to get in the game (when you come off the bench) but even harder if you haven't played for four months.

"So after a few minutes I was pretty tired...but the boys made it easy for me too. We played really well."

Heart's next challenge is a trip to take on Adelaide United - one of the form teams of the A-League - on Saturday afternoon.

While Engelaar appreciates Adelaide's strengths under head coach Josep Gombau, the Dutchman is convinced Heart can challenge the hosts at Coopers Stadium.

"I think they're a pretty good team on the ball but they are very vulnerable when they don't have the ball," Engelaar said.

"So, I think that's something we need to take advantage of."


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