MELBOURNE Heart defender Patrick Kisnorbo says the struggling team owe some good performances to embattled coach John Aloisi.
Aloisi appeared set for the sack following a dire start to 2013-14, before battling draws at home to Adelaide and away to Western Sydney in the last two weeks earned him a stay of execution.
The team remain without a win from nine matches so far this campaign, and will be looking end their wait for a victory when they go away to Sydney FC on Sunday.
Centre-back Kisnorbo, a new arrival at the club ahead of this A-League season, feels the players need to step up if they are to relieve the pressure on Aloisi.
"Unfortunately we haven't done right by him," Kisnorbo said.
"The last few games we needed to dig in as a team and get some results for him. He's been great for us, he's backed us the whole way and he's a great guy, a great manager. Hopefully we can kick on from here for him."
Harry Kewell returned to action for the first time since Round 1 away to the Wanderers last week, and made a noticeable difference to the Heart's confidence and structure during his brief second-half cameo.
Kisnorbo is unsure if the club captain will be fit enough to join the squad in the Harbour City again this weekend, but has no doubts about the playmaker's importance when he does feature.
"But when he came on you could (see) that he was a class above. He got into positions that ... not many know how to ... so hopefully he can travel with us and hopefully he can bring more to the team.
"A player of his quality can lift any team. He lifts us, him being with us definitely is a positive. A player of his quality and stature can do anything."
Sydney lost for the first time in five matches last weekend, going down 1-0 away to the Central Coast Mariners.
Prior to that defeat, they had recorded a club record four successive victories, and Kisnorbo predicted a tough challenge from a team expected to number a fit-again Alessandro Del Piero among their ranks.
"They're high on confidence," he said.
"Obviously they lost on the weekend but before that they were on a roll. It's going to be tough, it's not going to be easy, but hopefully we can go over there, do our jobs and get a result."