'Young Lions must have right attitude'
Defence is the priority for Subramaniam but he also wants to see improvement in skills, fitness and discipline
|GARENA YOUNG LIONS||ALBIREX NIIGATA|
Several players in the Garena Young Lions' squad endured a difficult SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, after the national Under-22 side crashed out of the group stages of the biennial competition.
Now, they return to the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League to face a fixture pile-up, with four matches in the space of 12 days.
The gruelling spell begins with a clash against defending champions Albirex Niigata at the Jalan Besar Stadium tomorrow, followed by a clash with heavyweights Tampines Rovers at the same venue next Tuesday.
Then it's Hougang United next Friday and Balestier Khalsa the following Wednesday.
Head coach Vincent Subramaniam admitted that the need to address the team's defensive frailties is a priority as they head into this tough period.
Thirteen games into the season, the Young Lions have yet to win a single match and are rooted to the bottom of the nine-team standings.
"We need to shore up the defence, because against Albirex, we can't attack as much as we want, that much is clear," said the 62-year-old.
"This requires patience, perseverance and endurance - and that's what the boys are lacking now. It isn't just physical endurance, but mental endurance too.
"After those four games, we have an extended break, where we will be working on a few things before we return for those last six games - and we will look to win those."
We want the boys to be fitter and have better technical qualities so that they can survive in the S.League.—Garena Young lions coach Vincent Subramaniam
He also expressed his frustration with how things are going, but the former national team coach is not one to roll over and give up the fight.
"Ultimately, I'm very competitive, I never go into any match thinking of losing, and we must be brave. I remember the last loss to Albirex was very embarrassing," he said, referring to the 8-0 humiliation in May.
"We will be resilient and the players must realise their capabilities.
"They tend to run too much and not make the ball work, and get tired too fast. We must not do that against Albirex."
Looking back at the national Under-22 team's performances at the SEA Games, Subramaniam said that it was clear the side paid the price for a lack of fitness.
On top of that, he has challenged his young charges to show the "right attitude".
He said: "The first thing that the players would've found out for themselves is that they could be fitter. It was clear that we couldn't last the second half of games at the SEA Games.
"Technically speaking, teams were superior. Malaysia, Myanmar and, to a certain extent, even Laos - they dominated the second half - but we could have matched these teams if we had been fitter."
He added: "It's very important that the players get their attitude right.
"What they are doing now - and it's embarrassing to say - is not even 60 per cent of what they should be, and I'm talking about skills, fitness and discipline.
"I can't fault the Young Lions, they are schoolboys, and some are in the army.
"Their bodies can only do so much, but we just have to come back and work harder.
"(Yesterday) morning, Albirex were training under the hot sun at Jalan Besar, sweating when most other S.League clubs are sleeping. We just don't train as hard.
"Albirex are good not just because they are a Japanese brand, but because they work extra hard, train much more, and their players are very disciplined.
"If we work hard, and are disciplined, the results will take care of themselves."
- Brunei DPMM v Home Utd (8.15pm, Bandar Seri Begawan)
- Geylang v Balestier Khalsa (7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
- Tampines v Hougang (7.30pm, Our Tampines Hub)