Singapore Premier League • March 27, 2014
Stewart Proud of Players’ Effort; Tatsuyuki Relieved With Draw
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Taiyo Nishida’s last-gasp goal denied Woodlands Wellington a win as they were held by a stubborn Albirex Niigata (S) side to a 1-1 draw, but head coach Darren Stewart was unfazed and said his team gained ‘a very valuable point’.
“I am not one bit disappointed. It is a very valuable point. This is football. We were under the palm for the last 20 minutes against a good team so a draw is a decent result,” Stewart pointed out.
“Some players shouldn’t have taken the pitch because they were only 70% fit,” he added. “We were a bit sluggish because of that and I take responsibility on that. My team has no superstars but they never let the team down and gave everything they have got.”
Stewart was also pleased that his side played to instructions, and never allowed the White Swans to play their usual passing game.
“The effort was good. Albirex resulted in playing long balls, which is not them. We forced them into doing that,” the former League Cup winning coach said. “My players never gave up and I can’t praise them any higher.”
Stewart’s counterpart Tatsuyuki Okuyama could not contain his delight with the result despite it only being a point, and agreed with the Woodlands coach that his side were frustrated by the tactics of the Rams.
“We struggled throughout the 90 minutes. We couldn’t play our football so we had to change our style,” the Japanese said.
“We could only push up the defender to get the goal and eventually we got the point by playing long balls because we had no choice.”
“We didn’t play well at all, so one point is the best result. Although we had a very bad game, it’s a fair result and I am happy.”
“Our players are very young so we are inconsistent in performance. It is something we must maintain and must improve in every game,” he concluded.