Home expect to challenge for title
He was lauded for trying to get his side to play the "right way" in his rookie season as an S.League head coach.
But Philippe Aw found out the hard way that playing an attractive brand of football does not necessarily lead to success.
Home United finished sixth last season, although they finished runners-up in the RHB Singapore Cup.
Aw believes he has picked up some valuable lessons as he prepares for a second season in Home's hotseat.
"What I learnt last season was that it takes time to implement a philosophy," he told The New Paper.
"It took us half a season to gel. That's when we went on that undefeated run (of 10 games)."
The 39-year-old believes his side have improved under his stewardship, but he stressed that his young team are still a work in progress.
"If you compare last year at this point of time with this season, we are far ahead now, because we have the foundation in place," he said.
"For a team to be successful, you need time to build on it. That's why we have chosen to retain the core of the team, and then choosing the right players to play this brand of football."
Aw has retained the likes of veteran defender Juma'at Jantan and Denmark forward Ken Ilso, and boosted the team's firepower with the addition of LionsXII trio Zulfahmi Arifin, Khairul Nizam and Faris Ramli as well as rising stars Irfan and Ikhsan Fandi.
Faris believes Home can challenge for the title this season.
"Hopefully, this season with the new signings, coach Philippe gets what he wants - to be able to win some silverware," said the 23-year-old.
"The boys are ready. The experienced players really want (to win) something this year."
- AQIL HAZIQ MAHMUD
- Last season's finish: 6th out of 10 teams
- TNP's prediction for this season: 3rd out of 9 teams
- Key players in: Irfan Fandi, Shamil Sharif (both Young Lions), Zulfahmi Arifin, Khairul Nizam, Faris Ramli (all LionsXII)
- Key players out: Noh Rahman, Yasir Hanapi (Tampines Rovers), Shahril Jantan (retired), Kamel Ramdani (released)
- Man to watch: Faris Ramli The speed merchant scored 11 goals in all competitions for the LionsXII last year and he will be the go-to guy for the Protectors.
- The coach: Philippe Aw At 39, Aw is the youngest head coach in the S.League and is a firm believer in blooding promising talent.
FIRST FIVE FIXTURES
- Sunday (7.30pm): Home v Warriors FC (Bishan Stadium)
- Feb 18 (7.30pm): Hougang United v Home (Hougang Stadium)
- March 3 (7.30pm): Home v Tampines (Bishan Stadium)
- March 11 (8.15pm): Brunei DpMM v Home (Bandar Seri Begawan)
- March 17 (7.30pm): Home v Young Lions (Bishan Stadium)