DPMM remain hopeful of S.League title
ALBIREX NIIGATA v BRUNEI DPMM
(Tonight, 7.30pm, Jurong East Stadium, live on MediaCorp okto and StarHub TV Ch 201)
For most of the season, they seemed to be cruising to the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League title.
But Brunei DPMM are close to throwing all their good work down the drain.
Defeats by Home United and current leaders Warriors FC and a 1-1 draw with Balestier Khalsa have left the Bruneian outfit three points off the summit.
But they have a game in hand - tonight's clash with Albirex Niigata at the Jurong East Stadium. On top of that, they also have a goal difference vastly superior to the Warriors.
They may have complicated matters, but the equation remains simple for DPMM. Win their remaining two matches and they will win the S.League.
DPMM coach Steve Kean said: "The situation we find ourselves can actually be quite beneficial.
"We need to score more goals than the opposition and win two games, and it gives us a clear focus that we've just got to go out and really attack.
"That's probably when we're at our best - when we control the ball and really look to attack our opponents.
"We haven't been working on defending much because we know that isn't where we've been lacking in.
"The last couple of results that haven't been ideal for us were down to individual mistakes; it has not been because of tactical deficiencies."
To think DPMM were touted to clinch the Treble at one point.
While they won the StarHub League Cup, they lost to Home in the RHB Singapore Cup semi-finals.
They are now desperate not to let the league crown slip out of their grasp too.
But Kean insisted his side can be satisfied with what they have achieved so far.
The Scot said: "We cannot forget that we've actually had a very good season.
"We've won the League Cup, we've gone further than we ever have in the Singapore Cup and we've been on top of the league for most of the season.
"If you'd said at the beginning of the season that, with two games to go, if we win both then we would go on to win the championship, obviously we would have taken that - nothing's changed."
Despite their recent slump in form, DPMM still boast the best attack (61 goals scored) and defence (28 goals conceded) in the league.
They have been one of the most entertaining sides but striker Roy O'Donovan, who has bagged 25 goals in all competitions, is willing to sacrifice the aesthetics for three points against Albirex.
"Obviously, we've lost a bit of momentum and we let in some silly goals against Warriors and Home United," he said.
"It's always frustrating to concede from set-pieces. We've still been scoring and playing nice football but it doesn't matter how well you play. It's all about the results at the end of the day.
"Of course, I hope we play well on Tuesday but as long as we get the win, I'll be happy.
"It's just important now to get the three points and move on to our last game."
DPMM came closest to winning the S.League back in 2012 when they were pipped to the title by Tampines Rovers on the final day of the season.
"We’ve got to get back to being mean. If we do that, we know we’re always going to create chances and almost always score."
— Brunei DPMM coach Steve Kean
"Albirex are probably the best footballing side in the league. It’s going to be very difficult but if you want to win the league, you’ve got to do it the hard way."
— Brunei DPMM striker Roy O’Donovan