Home United coach Aw calls for clinical finishing to get first win
HOME UNITED v GARENA YOUNG LIONS
(Tonight, 7.30pm, Bishan Stadium)
The statistics make for glum reading - Home United have no wins from their first four games and have racked up a mere two points as they prop up the nine-team Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League.
Philippe Aw's men have made their worst start to an S.League season since 1997, when they lost their opening four matches and finished last in the nine-team league.
While other coaches with such a record may be feeling the heat, the 39-year-old Aw was a picture of calm and concentration when The New Paper visited the Protectors at training at Bishan Stadium on Tuesday, as they geared up for tonight's bottom-of-the-table clash with the Garena Young Lions.
He said: "If we had a bad start to the season and we are playing badly - we are not creating chances, we are being dominated - then yes, we have big problems to rectify.
"But, in every match, even against star-studded Tampines, we dominated in the second half.
"For four games, we have been dominating our opponents, but we haven't been finishing off our chances."
On paper, the game against the Young Lions is the perfect chance for the Protectors to end their winless streak.
After all, the Football Association of Singapore developmental side are essentially an Under-21 team, and they have lost four of their five matches.
They are also still missing their captain and chief striker Khairul Amri, as the Singapore international continues to nurse a calf injury.
But Home captain Juma'at Jantan warned: "You cannot underestimate the Young Lions, they are a good side and they have beaten Balestier (Khalsa) already this season.
"We have to stay focused against them, otherwise we'll be 'killed'. Hopefully, we can do that and get our first win of the season."
Added Aw: "We have to respect our opponents. Even though they are young, they have an abundance of energy and I am very sure they will come here (Bishan Stadium) hungry to prove to people they can match up to us."
To notch their first win of the season, Aw's forwards will have to find their mojo at the business end of the pitch. The Protectors have averaged only a goal a game, with only Balestier (0.5 goals a game) and the Young Lions (0.4 goals a game) having worse records.
The likes of Ken Ilso and Azhar Sairudin, who were retained by the club, clearly have to gel quickly with new signings Faris Ramli, Khairul Nizam and Irfan Fandi.
Nizam continues to find his feet after lengthy injury lay-offs in recent seasons, while Irfan, 18, is still wet behind the ears at senior level.
But Aw hopes things will start falling into place at home tonight, and his boys will get a result to kickstart their season.
He said: "This game is very important for us. We need to get our first win on the board, then things will fall into place and we can go on a run.
"People were expecting us to be flying high at the start of the season and they may say that we have had a terrible start.
"But, if you go on a run, suddenly you're right up there (with the title contenders).
"We will do everything we can to win, that's an assurance to the fans.
"We are not relaxing on anything."