Bernd Stange takes responsibility, admits S'pore team is not good enough
1 HOW DO YOU FEEL AFTER WATCHING YOUR TEAM LOSE TO RIVALS MALAYSIA AND GET DUMPED OUT OF THE SUZUKI CUP?
BERND STANGE: I still feel empty. I had a sleepless night thinking about what we could have done different.
We were all nerves, under big pressure, and I expect criticism from everywhere. But I take power from the attitude and character shown by the team.
We failed to achieve our goals (of qualifying for the semi-finals), but we didn't fail in going on our way to achieve our football - this is part of the process of rebuilding the national team.
But I am responsible for the A national team, and I'm responsible that we failed to achieve something in this tournament.
2 WHAT WERE THE REASONS FOR THIS FAILURE?
There was a lack of concentration, and it happened many times in our last few matches, and we gave away too many penalties, and it cost us points.
After these results, I have to say that we're not good enough, we were definitely not good enough.
When I said we didn't have a backbone in this team, I meant we didn't have a backbone with the quality of players who grew up in other countries, and got their development in Australia, Bosnia, England and China, and have high levels of skills and ability.
We missed this quality in the team. I have great respect for these players who are heroes here.
But I believe I took the best players in this country. Two years ago, they could have made a difference, but not now.
3 WHAT WERE THE POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES YOU CAN DRAW FROM THE 1-3 LOSS TO MALAYSIA?
Negatives? The result. We are in the business of results, and we had to take a draw or a win, and we tried to win.
The lack of concentration and we gave away a penalty, and it cost us, even if not many referees will give that penalty.
But the character and attitude of the players was fantastic, there was no one who did not give his best.
There was a good atmosphere on and off the pitch.
4 AFTER THIS DISAPPOINTING RESULT IN THE SUZUKI CUP, WILL WINNING NEXT YEAR'S SOUTH-EAST ASIA (SEA) GAMES NOW TAKE ON GREATER IMPORTANCE, TO RESTORE FAITH IN SINGAPORE FOOTBALL?
We want to win the SEA Games, but we have to tell everybody today, half a year earlier, that it's much more difficult to win, because the other countries are not 'sleeping'.
We will see a lot of the Thai players, Myanmar players, Vietnam players (that played in the AFF Suzuki Cup) again at the SEA Games.
We are in a good way in our preparation, and we have a lot of support from the authorities, but we have to be honest, half of our team are semi-professional.
We have a lot of support now to make them available for more and more training sessions, and that's why I'm quite confident that we can achieve something.
5 YOU HAVE SELECTED PLAYERS MAINLY FROM THE LIONSXII AND COURTS YOUNG LIONS, WITH SOME SAYING THAT THIS HAS CREATED A CULTURE IN WHICH SOME PLAYERS FEEL THEY COULD JUST WALK INTO THE NATIONAL TEAM. HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND TO THIS?
Compared to other countries, it is easier in Singapore to come into the national team, because there is a lack of competition for positions, maybe too easy, but I tried to find the best solution.
If you look a little deeper, you can confirm that. I wanted two or three players in each position, but I couldn't do that.
We need competition and professional discipline to fix this. Our youth development plans are good, but we still have a lack of quality.
6 HAVE YOU CONSIDERED IF YOU WILL EXTEND YOUR CONTRACT WHEN IT RUNS OUT NEXT YEAR, TO STAY AND FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THE PLANS YOU'VE PUT IN PLACE?
Honestly, I've not thought about that now, especially after a heavy defeat. I cannot give you an answer.