| Fadhil Yunus |
DPMM FC head coach Steve Kean said that his team remain entirely focused on the immediate task in hand and deliver a positive result in order to put them in a healthier position for the S League title.
Currently in second place, the Singapore League Cup holders must register two wins beginning tonight (Oct 25) against Balestier Khalsa at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium to make certain that the title is in their own destiny and not Warriors FC.
Kean had revealed that they could not dictate the outcome of the match between Tampines Rovers FC and Warriors FC given that both teams are considered direct title rivals for the S League.
“We can never control the result (Thursday night). All we can do is control our own games,” the head coach told the media after a training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium.
“When they come around, we’re going to have a couple of important games in hand so it’s important that we focus on each game as it comes. Three points will put us in a very good position.”
Warriors consolidated their position with a four-point lead at the top of the S League over DPMM FC following a 2-1 victory against Tampines, effectively ending their hopes of retaining the title.
Kean would have wanted valuable points in the opening two games but despite getting away with none after a tough schedule, the team remain entirely focused in their remaining games.
After completing the AFF qualifying campaign for the national side in Laos, Kean is also delighted to be back on home soil.
“It’s really good to be back in Brunei and train on the lovely pitch again and good to see all the lads fit and well. I think they’re energetic and looking forward towards the end of the season,” Kean said.
Kean is determined to guide his team to a positive result today which will put them in a good position for the title.
“We worked for the last 10 months to put ourselves in this position.”
Despite the Laos setback in the AFF qualifying, Kean believed that there were key moments where results could have easily gone either way and taking this into account, the team did not return feeling dejected but rather a cause for optimism.
“We came back with the confidence and at international level a lot of the lads play well. Now we’re changing our focus to the S League and hopefully we will be in a position where we can clinch the title in a few weeks’ time,” he added.
Kean singled out the excellent Ak Fakharrazi at full-back and hailed the positive appearances of the three young players that were drafted into the national squad.
“Even if we did not manage victories, I thought we played well.”
Kean also said that it is good for the imports to be training and now their main aim is to gel the group back as quickly as possible.
On the recent trip to Laos at the international level, Kean felt that the majority of the local players brushed shoulders with a lot of good players and talents from the other countries.
“I think it’s good as a country to stretch ourselves. Sometimes you learn more about yourselves when you play against really good opposition. From the experience there’s always positives to take out from each match,” Kean highlighted.
Kean also hinted a bright future for the young players and possible inclusions in the DPMM FC squad.
“I think we found some excellent young players that will be additions for the squad for next season. We’ve managed the workload in trying to rotate all the players so that when we come back we can be fresh.”
Kean remains confident of delivering a positive result with the added caution that they do not concede sloppy goals, putting them in situations where it takes mountains to climb or simply undone by individual errors.
Kean added that if an opponent would go on to score a spectacular effort, his charges must make sure that they do not gift that chance in a split of a second for that precise moment.
Kean described Balestier as a powerful and a direct team and dangerous in set-plays accompanied with a rich vein of form in the final weeks of the S League season.
“I’ve seen them play against Warriors a few weeks ago before Laos. They’re a good team and it will be a tough game.”
“Since they made the split (top half of third round) in the very last game, they have been in good form. I’m sure if we can perform the way we normally do at home, we can get the points,” Kean concluded.