Modern football, regional supremacy
New coach Raab wants to take Tampines to the next level
His first taste of the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League saw him drag the Garena Young Lions off the bottom of the 10-team standings in 2015, but Juergen Raab is aiming much higher this time round.
The newly appointed Tampines Rovers coach wants to make the Stags the best team in this country again - and go toe-to-toe with regional clubs, including those from Thailand.
Speaking to The New Paper before meeting his squad for the first time at Jurong West Stadium yesterday morning, an optimistic Raab was keen to get started.
"There is a feeling that I was not finished here," said the 58-year-old German.
"I thought we did some good work with the Young Lions.
"People could see the improvement in that team and the target was to do well at the next South-east Asia Games but, maybe, they had other ideas."
The Young Lions back then were the national Under-23 squad but, today, they are effectively the national U-22 squad.
Raab took over the Young Lions midway through the 2015 season, when the team had just four points from seven games.
They ended the year with 27 points, just one point adrift of eighth-placed Geylang International, and playing better football. But Raab left the club at the end of 2015.
"This is a new start for me, with a new team," he said.
"The target is for Tampines to be the best team in Singapore and compete against clubs from Malaysia, the Philippines and even Thailand - we want to be at that level to beat these teams.
"Tampines are different, they are not the Young Lions, that's why it's important to convince the players that this is the way forward.
"There will be no compromises with me, they must follow or we will have to do something about it."
Raab knows it will take a lot of hard work for him to instil an attacking brand of football at the five-time S.League champions.
"The chairman and staff all want to change the style of football - we want modern football, with pressing, dominating the match and attacking," he said.
"We won't sit back and defend, hoping that we get one good chance to score... Instead, we will go out and try to create 10 or 15 chances to make sure we can score and win," he added, declaring that this is how Tampines will play even if they face Thai opposition.
Raab will have 18 days to prepare his side for their first test against regional opposition.
Even before the S.League kicks off on Feb 26, Tampines will take on Malaysian Super League side Felda United in Group G of the Asian Football Confederation Cup.
But that will probably come too soon for anyone to see the results of their hard work on the training ground.
"We will need more time for me to understand the players, and for them to understand what I want to see," said Raab.
"This is a new task and I hope that we will be able to achieve something with Tampines but, first, I must get to know the players in the squad."