Lions' new coach Tatsuma Yoshida wants more intensity, confidence
New coach outlines his philosophy at his first training with the Lions, ahead of friendly matches
The search for the new Lions coach may have taken over a year, but the new sheriff in town, Tatsuma Yoshida, has wasted no time in trying to drill his philosophy into the team.
Taking charge of his first training session yesterday at the Jalan Besar Stadium, Yoshida focused on getting his team to be confident on the ball and press aggressively without it.
He first addressed the team in a 20-minute meeting behind closed doors. Then it was straight out on to the pitch for his maiden training session as he put the players through their paces.
Right from the get-go, Yoshida was eager to stamp his philosophy.
The players started with the rondo, a training drill that is usually the first done during a session.
In a rondo, one group of players are tasked with keeping possession of the ball while completing a series of passes, while a smaller group of players try to take possession.
But there was a new rule. Yoshida outlawed the use of sideways passes.
Players were encouraged to take the braver passes instead of opting for the safer, sideways one.
While he used his translator, Albirex Niigata Under-15s coach Ryo Ishibashi, to get some of his ideas across more effectively, there were points that were universally understood.
"Fast. Move closer," Yoshida bellowed at his midfielders during another training drill.
CLEAR AND HONEST
It helped as well that his assistant coach, Nazri Nasir, sang from the same tune, often interjecting in between drills to demand the players keep the ball on the floor instead of hoofing it up.
Speaking to the media after training, Yoshida was clear and honest on what he required of the Lions.
"We have a lot to improve on," said the 44-year-old tactician.
When asked on what were some examples, he said : "Too many."
When pressed further, he noted that intensity could be higher during training but admitted that it may be down to most players fasting.
He said: "We need confidence first. Technique is second but, first, I want the players to want the ball.
"I want them asking for the ball and not being scared. They need to get used to my training. The players are working hard, but I want more."
Earlier in the morning, the Japanese had discussions with his key coaching staff, who include Nazri, fitness coach Noh Rahman and goalkeeping coach Rahmeshpal Singh.
TNP understands that Yoshida will use the 4-3-3 formation, with an emphasis on aggressive pressing.
Midfielder M. Anumanthan, 24, is already buying into his new coach's ways.
He said: "Today's session was very positive and everyone was eager to show what they can do.
" He emphasised a lot on transition and making our play habitual. His philosophy is not new to us but, the way he implements it, makes us want to conform to it.
"Sometimes coaches bring a new philosophy but, maybe, they don't really implement it. He really wants us to conform to the way he wants us to play.
"For example, he was telling us to get closer and press harder. It is a style of play that is very distinct."
Yoshida's first match in charge will be on Saturday against the Solomon Islands, followed by Myanmar on Tuesday.
Both matches will be played at the National Stadium.