Steven Naismith hopes the upcoming international break can give Hearts a chance to reflect on their recent run of poor results and come back ready to do better.
The Jambos’ technical director was speaking in the aftermath of their frustrating 1-0 home defeat to Motherwell and bemoaned his players for focusing more on trying not to make mistakes rather than going out and winning the match. The former Scotland forward hopes the two weeks between now and Aberdeen’s visit to Gorgie will see a different Hearts’ side ready to take to the pitch.
He said: “I think it [the result] has come at a time when we’ve played a lot of football, from playing pre-season games to playing loads of competitive games, which gets players up to speed but it has been really intense so I think it gives us time to reflect and understand what we want to do. Do we want to be successful? We want to be hard to beat first of all and secondly we want to play front foot football and be more concerned about causing other teams problems than worrying about giving up chances.”
“We need to [be different after the break]. I think the squad has shown that we can do it and that we can play in a manner that’s enjoyable but also be successful. I think over the last three or four games we have gone away from that, there have been good spells but overall there has been that being more concerned about doing something wrong than going out and being the match winner.
“I think they [the fans] are going to be unhappy because they’ve seen something that has been consistent in that last few league game but now that we have got this period we can continue to work and refresh and get back to where we need to be because we’re going into a period of games where it’s tough and there’s a demand that we need to win games. I think losing our last two league games we need to start changing that and getting points on the board.”
Meanwhile, Motherwell gaffer Stuart Kettlwell was full of praise for his own players who head into the break level on points with league leaders Celtic.
After his side’s victory in Edinburgh, he said: “I spoke when I first came into the football club that we had to be able to show variety in what we do, and had to be able to stand up to the numerous situations that this league brings. I think we saw a full array of them today, just looking at the first half I thought we were really good and did a lot of things well in possession and out of possession.
“Fundamentally when you come here you want to try and turn the crowd, try and ensure the opposition have to change their shape and change personal and they did all those things so we felt that the first marker was there for us. In the second half you know you’re going to have to suffer at times, that you won’t have the ball but you’re not necessarily thinking you’re going to be reduced to ten men which we were and that had to bring out a different side in us.
“We work on attack vs defence and you saw today how comfortable they were with that and how much they enjoyed it - it looked to me as if there was a unity in everything they did.
“For us to only face one shot on target I think that’s pretty incredible but I think it shows the work that was done in front of him. We know we’ve got a good goalkeeper but sometimes that prevention is there in terms of how we define. All these guys played their part and it’s really pleasing to get a clean sheet when you come here under the circumstances.”