Singapore Premier League • August 31, 2014

Kean: We Will Take The Win


Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Rodrigo Tosi netted a last-gasp penalty as Brunei DPMM came from behind to beat Tanjong Pagar United 2-1 at the Queenstown Stadium on Saturday evening.

DPMM coach Steve Kean was a relieved man at the final whistle as he admitted his team were below par in the first-half where they allowed their opponents to take the lead through Kamel Ramdani on 22 minutes.

“We will take the victory whenever it comes. I thought first-half we were poor, our front two weren’t really causing Tanjong Pagar defence any problems,” said the former Blackburn Rovers manager.

“Credit to the players. The pitch was not conducive for passing and we had to change the way we played a little bit, go back to front which was unlike us. We tried to do that in first-half but our midfield was just shorn of the ball and we didn’t win enough of the second balls.”

Having been at helm of the Sultanate’s only professional club for the past eight months, Kean is encouraged with what he has seen from the team so far.

“I feel that we’ve progressed as a team, sometimes it’s easier when you are chasing when you are not used to leading the league,” he shared.

“It’s a different type of pressure but the boys have adapted really well. I feel all the players have improved technically and certainly, physically. The lads have been great, we have great imports who are great role models but the improvement from the local boys have been superb.”

The Wasps now lead the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League standings with 46 points after 22 matches, and Kean has expressed his optimism at wrestling the title away from defending champions Tampines Rovers come end of the season.

“With victories and good runs, confidence floods in the team and you get into a position where the players always think they are going to win,” he enthused.

“We feel we have enough in the squad to kick on and win the league. It’s all about the players’ belief they can do it as i certainly think they are good enough. A lot is [on the] mental [aspect] and the players got to believe they can go all the way.”

His opposite number Patrick Vallee meanwhile felt aggrieved with the referee’s decision to award the penalty but was otherwise pleased with the performance of his charges.

“About the performance, I asked my team to show everybody their standard and i think tonight they showed what they were capable of against a top-six side,” he said.

“The spirit of our team, I’m delighted. I’m sure I always talk about my team, I know their standard. Once they show me that, I can only be happy. I’m happy with what I saw from my team.

“Even if we did not win, it’s not our fault. We did everything to win this game and i cannot say a lot of things. When you see what happened at the end, it’s very frustrating.”

Vallee also insisted it will take a miracle for them to catch up with seventh-placed Balestier Khalsa, who still have a chance to finish in the top half this season.

“Football sometimes is about mathematics. We are now 19 points, behind the 7th team [Balestier] who have 30 points. You can ask anybody and they will tell you they will fight to finish 7th but it’s impossible,” he said.

“It’s not I want to give up, but it’s the truth. 11 points from five games, it’s impossible. You’ll see at the end [of the season]. But we will fight and I [honestly] don’t know which players are available for the next game because we still have suspensions and injuries [to contend with].”