PAULO SERGIO admitted Hearts made life too easy for Motherwell at Fir Park on Saturday and accused his players of lacking aggression after a demanding schedule of matches.
The Tynecastle manager also revealed confusion over David Templeton’s recurring groin problem, which forced the winger’s substitution 38 minutes into the 3-0 defeat.
Sergio was disappointed by what he felt was a lack of application and desire from the Hearts players. When Motherwell were reduced to ten men with the 51st-minute dismissal of midfielder Keith Lasley, the visitors could not capitalise on the numerical advantage.
“It was too easy for Motherwell, there was no aggression at all without the ball. We allowed them to score and there was no reaction,” said Sergio.
“Maybe what we talked about before the game – playing every three days – we paid the price. I felt our aggression wasn’t on the pitch. There were silly things. It’s great we are going to have all week to recover and work normally again after a month and a half which was too hard for us.
“They closed the spaces and we worked the ball to try and create chances but it wasn’t enough. It was not good at all, congratulations to Motherwell.”
Hearts’ game plan was upset when Templeton had to be withdrawn due to injury. “I can understand that but it’s not up to me to speak about that,” Sergio told the club website. “Our physio or Templeton can speak about it [the injury]. It’s good, it’s not good, it’s good, it’s not good – I can’t understand that.”
Motherwell are now nine points ahead of Hearts in third place in the Scottish Premier League and Sergio believes there is too much focus on where his team will finish this season.
“We shouldn’t be focused on that. It’s a hard season with a lot of problems so don’t be worried about third position.
“We should be worried about the performance. We will see our position at the end of the league.”
Meanwhile, Hearts striker John Sutton enjoyed a winning start to his loan spell with Central Coast Mariners on Saturday, making an impressive debut in the 2-0 win over Wellington Phoenix. “I was very happy with his performance, I knew what I was getting and the type of player I wanted to give us something totally different,” said Graham Arnold, the Central Coast Mariners coach.
“I thought his performance was excellent.”