Buoyant Home ready for tough Stags encounter

Tampines Rovers coach Sundram Moorthy at the training session with his team members at Jalan Besar Stadium.
Tampines Rovers coach Sundram Moorthy at the training session with his team members at Jalan Besar Stadium. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

With only two days' rest between Tuesday's 1-0 AFC Cup victory over Selangor and tonight's match against Home United, Tampines Rovers coach V. Sundramoorthy has admitted that fatigue is a big concern for his men.

However, Home coach Philippe Aw is not buying the talk and still expects the Stags to be ready for their S-League clash at Jalan Besar Stadium.

He said: "They have a big squad with many national players. The team is stacked with quality throughout.

"It still should be a cracking game and a tough match. Tampines are a good team and we can't underestimate them, especially coming off their big win on Tuesday."

The Protectors are sixth in the S-League standings on 15 points but are going into the game off back-to-back victories against third-placed Hougang United and seventh-placed Warriors.

In addition, Aw coached a Singapore Selection side to a penalty shoot-out victory (4-3) against the Selangor team in the Sultan of Selangor (SOS) Cup last weekend.

The 18-man Singapore squad, which featured 11 Home players, clinched the Republic's first SOS Cup in five years, a result that Aw said has left the Protectors on a high.

He said: "Most of my players played in the SOS Cup and they're all coming back with good confidence. The win was a big boost to the team."

Despite all the positives, the team's leaky defence is still an issue for Aw. In their last two victories, Home conceded three goals and the coach acknowledged this weakness.

He said: "We're still letting in easy goals because when we push up to attack, our defence becomes vulnerable and we concede.

"We're an offensive side and like to play attractive football for the fans. Home United are known for high-scoring games and there's no point in playing boring football.

"The team will just focus on attacking and scoring more while we shore up and look to concede less."

Yogaraj Panditurai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2016, with the headline 'Buoyant Home ready for tough Stags encounter'. Print Edition | Subscribe