Amri defends Sundram's tactics
Vanquished Lions arrive home and coach keeps his thoughts to himself
He accepted the handshakes but, with a frantic wave of his hand, national football coach V Sundramoorthy dismissed requests for an interview and briskly walked out of Changi Airport Terminal 2.
Returning from Manila with the Lions yesterday evening, the 51-year-old was clearly still feeling the hurt after presiding over Singapore's worst Suzuki Cup campaign, exiting the airport with so many questions left unanswered.
Looking back after two defeats and one draw, would he have done anything differently?
Why did attacking players like Shahril Ishak, Gabriel Quak, Shahdan Sulaiman, Shahfiq Ghani and Sahil Suhaimi share just about 20 minutes of playing time across three matches?
Is his reputation as a strict defensive-minded coach justified?
Yesterday, Sundram inadvertently left it to his players to field the tough questions.
Striker Khairul Amri, who scored Singapore's only goal of the campaign, said: "I felt we got our tactics right. Sure, we need to attack to score, but it was not like we didn't attack at all.
"Against the Philippines, we had to play with 10 men. Against Thailand and Indonesia, we had enough chances to win the game.
"Playing an open game would have been risky against teams like Thailand, so I feel the tactics were okay."
Another player, who spoke on condition of anonymity, wasn't as happy with the approach.
"What's the point of taking the attackers to Manila when it's clear the plan was just to run the clock down and defend?
"Even when it was clear we needed goals, the changes were made so late it was difficult for the substitutes to make an instant impact," he said.
The Lions' tendency to lose matches to late goals will be a worry.
This past week, Sarawut Masuk scored the only goal in the 89th minute as Thailand pipped Singapore, while Stefano Lilipaly grabbed an 86th-minute winner for Indonesia.
Centre back Madhu Mohana said: "Commitment wise, everyone gave of their best and it's unfortunate we couldn't win a single game.
"At times, it boils down to concentration and how well we mark opponents when they put in crosses. We will analyse and improve on our mistakes."
ASIAN CUP QUALIFIERS
Next up for the Lions is the Asian Cup qualifiers in 2017.
The draw will be made in January, with the first round of matches scheduled in March.
Sundram, who set the target of a semi-final spot in the Suzuki Cup, is on a one-year contract which ends in mid-2017.
By that time, a new Football Association of Singapore council would have been elected and they will have to decide whether to stick with him as national coach.
"Sundram has been given a one-year contract and, unless there is something drastically wrong with him as a coach, the logical consequence is that he should be given the opportunity to prove his worth."
- Football Association of Singapore provisional council president Lim Kia Tong