Stags coach Raab not afraid of the axe
|ALBIREX NIIGATA||TAMPINES ROVERS|
It hasn't been a great season for Tampines Rovers.
They had crashed out of the RHB Singapore Cup, after losing 7-1 on aggregate to league leaders Albirex Niigata.
The Stags had also failed to make an impact in The New Paper League Cup, which was won by Albirex.
One might think that Tampines coach Juergen Raab is feeling the heat.
However, the 58-year-old German says otherwise.
When asked if he was afraid of being sacked, Raab replied: "No.
"Everyone knows that I have taken on a difficult job. We are second on the table above Home United, despite losing key players at the start of the season."
"We lost very important players last season, and you would know these players," he added, referring to former Arsenal and Liverpool man Jermaine Pennant, striker Billy Mehmet and Warriors FC forward Jordan Webb. "I was tasked to take over and do my best for this season and develop an attractive style of play for Tampines.
"(Khairul) Amri, Fazrul (Nawaz) and Izwan (Mahbud) were out because of injury, and we had to make many shifts in our squad to compete this year."
NINE POINTS BEHIND
Tampines are nine points behind leaders Albirex, albeit with two games in hand.
On Saturday, they face the White Swans for the third time in 10 days, in a game that they must win to keep pace with the leaders.
Raab said: "It is a little bit strange, and it is not the best solution to play them three times in 10 days.
"It is difficult to play them in the S.League right now.
"But the league is all open, and we have to learn from the past two matches.
"Albirex have played 90 per cent of their fixtures with the same team. That is what you need as a coach. They are organised and well-prepared. They are a consistent team.
"We were too weak in defence, that is not a question. We gave them too much space. We improved against Albirex in the last match, and we showed a good performance, but we made two errors that cost us the game.
"We cannot give them space, and we need to prevent ourselves from making mistakes.
"We are a team that can play on their level and I hope to show our quality against Albirex to stay in the competition."