Singapore Premier League • February 24, 2014

Kean Encouraged by DPMM’s Positive Start


Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Rodrigo Tosi’s successful penalty conversion early in the first half ensured Steve Kean got his coaching debut in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League off to winning ways as Brunei DPMM edged Albirex Niigata (Singapore) 1-0 on Saturday evening.

Despite the victory, Kean felt his side was still capable of more.

“I think there’s still more to come from us, I wasn’t particularly pleased with the way we passed the ball (and) I think we could pass it much better. However I think we showed discipline when we don’t have the ball,” the former Blackburn Rovers manager said.

“I thought Albirex rotated themselves around the box in the first half and dragged our players out of position, nearly getting in on a few occasions so I said to the lads at half-time no matter what the rotation is, be rigid in our defensive shape and that’s a good sign, not to play particularly well but to win the match. That’s one of the positives we are taking from this match.”

In his first season in charge of an S.League outfit, Kean was impressed with what he witnessed from his opponents last night.

“I’ve seen a few games live and I’ve watched a few games from last year on DVD. I’ve (also) seen tonight that Albirex are a very good technical team, they try and move the ball and get it one-on-one in the wide areas and I thought they played really well,” he assessed.

“If that’s the standard we are going to come up against then it’s going to be a tough season.”

Without suspended first-choice goalkeeper Wardun Yussof, deputy Azman Ilham had to step in and he proved to be a capable replacement in goal and Kean had some encouraging words for the 29-year-old.

“Sometimes he’s got to believe in his own abilities. [He’s got] a little lack in his self-confidence I don’t know why because he’s athletic [and a] good keeper. I think sometimes when he doesn’t kick it well it gets on top of him a little bit, he beats himself up, [but] he’s certainly got the attributes to be a very good goalkeeper.”

On the other hand, Kean’s opposite number Tatsuyuki Okuyama was clearly disappointed with this result.

“I am not satisfied at all for today’s performance,” he said after the match.

“We were unlucky and we made many mistakes so we have to accept this result.

“Before the game, I just told my players our football is offensive and we just have to play according to our game plan. But in the first half, we had many mistakes and because of that, we could not make the reason of the game. That’s why we could not do very well from the beginning.”