Tampines to continue attack-mindedness
He delivered on his promise to get Tampines Rovers in attack mode again.
And Stags head coach Akbar Nawas - who took over the reins from V Sundramoorthy, who is now national coach - insisted yesterday his side will continue playing the same swashbuckling style of football that got them a 4-3 win over Brunei DPMM last Saturday in his first game in charge.
The Garena Young Lions will be bracing themselves for tonight when the two teams meet at the Jurong West Stadium, although they will be ready to pounce on any defensive errors by the home side.
On Saturday, DPMM profited in front of goal, first with a brilliant effort by Hendra Azam, before Rafael Ramazotti, last season's top-scorer, headed home easily from a set-piece and grabbed a second off a mistake by Tampines defender Afiq Yunos.
Akbar admitted he was not pleased with the defending for Brazilian striker Ramazotti's two goals, in particular, but said he would not compromise his team's attacking philosophy.
"Worried would not be the word, but it's definitely something we need to take note of," he said, of his side's defending.
"The approach will still be the same.
"We like to attack, but we just have to take note of the balance and be intelligent about it."
Tampines skipper Mustafic Fahrudin said the poor defending against DPMM was a one-off and backed his backline to get it right, starting with tonight's match.
"It was a really open game and we made some mistakes that we know we cannot afford," said the 35-year-old.
"But it was just on the day. We showed earlier in the season we can defend much, much better.
"And from tomorrow, we need to improve, because we made it really complicated for ourselves against DPMM."
It will by no means be a straightforward task for title-chasing Tampines.
The Young Lions have gone three games undefeated and ended Home United's five-match winning streak with a 2-2 draw last Saturday.
Akbar and Fahrudin are aware of the test that awaits them.
"We should not underestimate them," said the coach.
"We will try to play the game we want to but, at the same time, be mindful of our opponents."
Added Fahrudin: "Even in the first game (in April), they gave us problems and we won only 2-1. It will be tough for us." - SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ