News • March 13, 2014
Lee Encouraged By Protectors Performance
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Home United were denied victory by Persipura Jayapura in their AFC Cup Group E tie as the Indonesian side scored late through Ferinando Pahabol to earn a point after Yasir Hanapi had given the Protectors a first-half lead.
Considering that his side were missing eight players through injury, Home coach Lee Lim Saeng was encouraged with what he saw from his charges.
“I don’t know [if I’m happy with the point] and as a coach I always like to get three points but I would like to thank my players who did their best with eight injured players [out],” he said.
“Frankly I was expecting more, but I cannot blame the players as the result is my fault because we got only one point. We have mid-week match in the AFC Cup [against Churchill Brothers next week] and in the next league game against Brunei DPMM [on Friday].
“We need to prepare for the game against DPMM at Jalan Besar and with only 13 or 14 players to work with, it is not easy as a coach.”
Profligacy in front of goal meant the Protectors failed to build on Yasir’s opener, allowing their counterparts to equalise and Lee admitted there was still some work to be done.
“We had many chances but unfortunately we could not finish, that is part of football,” the Korean said.
“That means we need to improve more, especially the young players. They have the potential, I try to help them [improve] and hopefully they get into the Singapore national team in the future.
“We cannot play only with fitness, that’s why we also improve with technique. So we also try to do combination play in each position. We also need to clever and we can play quality football.”
The result leaves Home at the bottom of the group with one point from two games and they face an uphill task to. Still, Lee was hopeful and expressed optimism.
He said: “[But] I went to the Round of 16 in the AFC Cup in 2012 and I want to contribute to Singapore football, that’s why I am very interested in [progressing in] the AFC Cup by winning in India.”
On the other hand, Persipura coach Jacksen Tiago felt that it was a below-par performance from his team but was pleased with the point.
“We gave too much space to Home United midfielders especially in the first half. We can see that Home United respect us in the beginning of the game but after we give some space to them they start to enjoy the game so we tried to change a little bit in the changing room [at half-time],” the former Home player pointed out.
“Maybe the boys are a little tired because of the trip from Jayapura to here [Singapore] but if you ask me whether one point is good enough, it is good enough for what we did.”
He also paid tribute to his opponents whom he thought played ‘very well’.
“Home United played very well, we have to give the credit to them,” the Brazilian said.
“They made some changes in the formation. Normally the number 13 Lee [Kwan Woo], is their man who control the midfield, but he played a little bit up today with number 11 [Izzdin Shafiq] and number 22 [Syahiran Miswan] controlling the game.”