Sundram promises to attack Taiwan
Sundram promises attacking approach while Taiwan coach's focus is on defence
Singapore national football coach V Sundramoorthy and his Taiwan counterpart Kazuo Kuroda displayed an interesting contrast of emphasis during the pre-match press conference at the Amara Hotel yesterday afternoon.
Since taking over the national team last year, Sundram has copped some flak for his cautious set-up and conservative approach, even against lowly ranked opponents.
Under the 51-year-old, the Lions have not managed to score more than one goal in an "A" international, and have just six goals to show for in 13 matches.
However, after seeing the same strategy work in a crucial 0-0 draw away at Bahrain to kickstart their Asian Cup qualifying campaign in March, he knows that his team have to beat Taiwan in their Group E qualifier at Jalan Besar Stadium tonight to stay on track for the 2019 Finals in the United Arab Emirates.
Sundram said: "We want to get the points. We will try to go out there to score goals.
"When you want to score goals, you need to go out to attack. So, I believe, it's our home ground, we will go out to attack.
"But we must be careful, we cannot open up too much and get punished. We must come up with a plan that will suit our team well.
"Taiwan are not going to be an easy game. We have been watching them, they are a good team, and very well-organised.
"But, with the support of our fans, with our players showing up tomorrow, we have every chance to get the points."
Khairul Amri, who has 32 goals from 115 games, has been left out of the squad. It is believed that he is down with appendicitis.
The versatile Safuwan Baharudin could be entrusted with the responsibility of leading the line, and he has been in fine form recently, scoring in six straight games for Malaysian Premier League side PDRM FA.
Home United's Faris Ramli also has 11 goals and 12 assists this season at club level, while the likes of Khairul Nizam and Nazrul Nazari impressed in Tuesday's closed-door friendly against Myanmar, with whom Singapore drew 1-1.
This is perhaps why Kuroda refused to be lulled into complacency by Singapore's dismal scoring form.
"It would be good if Singapore are really so poor, but I don't think so," said the 68-year-old Japanese coach.
He added that his focus is on strengthening his inexperienced backline - Chen Ting-yang is their most-capped defender with 20 appearances.
The defence has kept just two clean sheets in their last 20 games, although they failed to score in just four matches.
Kuroda has been trying out a five-man defence during his training sessions at Jurong East Stadium over the past few days.
He said: "We have been watching videos of Singapore's matches from playing for the past two years, so we know only a little about our opponents.
"Our ability is not better than Singapore, and we want to learn from Singapore how to play a good game.
"The most important thing is to take the lead... but I believe any football coach would want to get their team's defence right first."