'˜Dominant' Igor Rossi to return and steady Hearts' defence

Igor Rossi is poised to return after suspension when Hearts face Motherwell tomorrow.

Friday, 25th November 2016, 5:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th November 2016, 9:27 am
Igor Rossi in training ahead of tomorrow's clash with Motherwell

Head coach Robbie Neilson feels the Brazilian’s strength and physical presence can help steady the club’s defence.

Rossi sat out Monday night’s 3-3 draw at Hamilton after accumulating six bookings. He had been an ever-present domestically this season and should be back in the starting line-up tomorrow.

Hearts have conceded ten goals in their last four matches – three of which Rossi played in – but Neilson hopes the centre-back can bring some stability.

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“It will help having Rossi back. He gives us a bit of dominance and physicality at the back,” Neilson told the Evening News. Neilson has still to decide whether to use a three-man defence or a flat back four against Motherwell.

“One of the reasons we went with the three at Hamilton is because Rossi was out. He’s very strong in the air and I felt we needed superior numbers at the back to give us a bit of balance. There’s a decision to be made about whether he comes back in or not.”

Neilson is eager for Hearts to continue their rich vein of scoring form after hitting the net 13 times in the last six matches. However, he acknowledged the need to tighten up in defence.

“The objective is to win football matches by scoring goals, but there’s always a balance between the two,” explained Neilson. “You can come out and try to grind out a 0-0 or a 1-0 but it’s not very entertaining, even though you don’t lose goals.

“With the players we’ve got and with a club of Hearts’ stature, you need to go out and score goals and try to entertain the fans.

“Tomorrow is a big game but they’re all big games. At Hearts, it’s simply about winning football matches. We didn’t manage it on Monday night but we go into Saturday confident.

“I thought we played well in periods at Hamilton and we need to take that forward now. We’re back at Tynecastle in front of a full house on the grass – go and win the game.”