Hearts manager Daniel Stendel has implored his players not to be shaken from their equilibrium after conceding that they lost their heads in Saturday’s 3-3 draw at St Johnstone.
The German admitted he was flummoxed by a second half display that saw Sean Clare rescue a point with a stoppage time goal, with Hearts having gone in at the break 2-1 in front.
Hearts will attempt to maintain the momentum they have gathered from a five game unbeaten run that has yielded two victories and lifted the Gorgie outfit off the Premiership basement, albeit on goal difference at Hamilton’s expense, when they host Kilmarnock tomorrow evening.
Stendel said: “We have watched the game and we could see what I knew had happened.
“I need answers from the players on that but it’s not easy for them when you look at the history of this season.
“I was satisfied at half-time but the second half, in our situation, was maybe a bit too much.
“We lost our head a little bit. We were confused in our defensive behaviour, from everyone in the team.
“That cannot happen in a game like this.
“For the second goal, we lost the ball up the pitch and four passes later they scored.
“We had all the players in behind the ball and that cannot happen.
“We need to learn from this but we never gave up.”
While pointing out that Clare’s performance was not flawless at McDiarmid Park, Stendel has, nonetheless, been delighted by the Englishman’s form since he took over the reins in December.
Clare has reinvented himself under Stendel, the midfielder turned marauding right back winning over a Hearts support who had been on his back.
Stendel added: “Sean has a lot of potential. I could see that when I came to the club.
“Every player on the pitch needs confidence to play his best football. It’s a little bit easier for him to come out into the offence position because without confidence it’s difficult to show you can play.
“But he’s scored two goals in four games now and Saturday was important for us.
“It was a nice goal but he can do so much more and he can improve more than the performance on Saturday.”
Stendel was also appreciative of the backing of the vocal 3,200 away fans in Perth, many of whom chanted his name during the second half.
He added: “My feeling from the fans was great.
“We had a feeling like it was a home game and they supported the team.
“The supporters are standing behind us in difficult moments and I think the second half on Saturday was a difficult moment. They helped us to come back and they will support us again on Wednesday. With our fans and our Tynecastle, we have big chance to win.”