Heart coach says resignation a positive
Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip believes that his resignation can only help his club's push for an A-League finals berth.
The former Dutch international told his fifth-placed team on Wednesday of his decision to return home to Europe at the end of the season for personal and professional reasons.
Heart assistant Ante Milicic is the favourite to take over the post while youth team coach, former Socceroo John Aloisi will also be considered.
The Heart will face cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory on Saturday night, a crucial game to both teams' finals prospects, but van `t Schip didn't believe his news would be a distraction.
With eight rounds remaining his side have only won one match since their last local derby just before Christmas after missing the finals in his debut year.
"Maybe I should have made my announcement earlier because if you look back at the last period, I don't think it's going to make any difference," the 48-year-old said.
"I think it bring more energy to the team; they know that something's going to change.
"If it will have influence I think it will be positive."
Melbourne chairman Peter Sidwell said the club had tried to extend the contract of the foundation coach, who had instilled an ethos underlined by playing attractive, attacking football.
Van `t Schip was capped 41 times as a player for the Netherlands before stepping into management, becoming an assistant coach at Ajax and the Dutch national team.
"John's decision is his own, we clearly were anxious as a club for him to continue... but for both personal and professional reasons he's decided to return to Europe," Sidwell said.
"To say we're grateful is a massive understatement."
"When you set up a team from nothing and are given very little to do so, it's a fantastic achievement that John has been able to put this club in this condition at this time."
Van `t Schip said he was proud of the development of young players at the Heart, with six in the Olyroos, and had enjoyed the experience of setting up a club from scratch.
But he was ready to get back into the fast lane of European football.
"Working in Europe is a lot faster in every issue, the life, the games ... the level I was playing and coaching," he said.
"(Here) they let you work, they let you do the things that you believe in and from the outside there's a lot less complications.
"That's one of the things for me that was very nice to experience."
While van 't Schip may be leaving Melbourne, he won't cut ties entirely with his 21-year-old son Davey staying on to continue his exercise science degree.
Van 't Schip is likely to be courted by top flight Dutch clubs.