Monday, March 25, 2013

Pressure is on

With the Warriors beaten by Balestier Khalsa 2-0 at the Toa Payoh Stadium, it mean the Warriors have lost 3 matches in the league and are strucked in the bottom 3.

Along with that, there are also two defeats in the AFC Cup to Semen Padang and Kitchee and it meant the Warriors are having their worst season since the inception of the S-league.

Selvaraj, in his first season as a head coach of a top-flight side, admits he is now feeling the heat.

"It's very hard," he admitted. "A lot of the pressure and the heat is really on me.

"But I would never want to pass this pressure on to any of my players. I don't think that's fair.

"I think we lost this game in the first half. By the time we tried our best to come back we were left with a mountain to climb."

The ex-Singapore international, who was promoted to the top job at the end of last season after being assistant to former boss Richard Bok, also identified their failure to burst out of the blocks as a reason for Warriors' poor performances thus far.

"The thing is we are taking a bit too long to settle down," Selvaraj explained. "Especially in the first half.
"That's the one thing we have to look at. Both goals were due to a lapse in concentration.

"Credit to my players, they did their best and worked very hard. We were better in the second half.

"Our movement was better, we closed down players and won a lot of loose balls. We had better possession than Balestier and created a few chances but just couldn't put the ball into the net, just like in the [1-0 loss to] Tampines [Rovers]."

Selvaraj also expressed his belief that his side were missing a number of key players, after marquee signing Kazuyuki Toda was once again sidelined by a minor injury, while left-back Zulfadli Zainal Abidin is still out with a long-term problem.

"I agree we were missing a few key players," he added. "Three of my defenders are out so I'm trying my best with a makeshift side to bring out the best out of the rest of the boys.

"If you ask me, had Toda and Zulfadli played, as well as [Syed] Fadhil, it would have made my defence more stable and it would have been better than what he had tonight [Sunday].

"Vida [Marin Vidosevic] was also suspended so that's four key defensive players that I had to do without, but that's not an excuse. The rest of them still tried like [Syaiful] Iskandar and Ruzaini [Zainal], who's coming back from a long-term injury.

"It's tough to go down, win one game [against Geylang] and go down again but I take it positively. Tonight [Sunday], we came back in the second half but just couldn't score the goals.

"We just need to have the same mentality, work rate and belief from the beginning of the game."

The Choa Chu Kang outfit have an excellent chance to get back to winning ways on Thursday when they entertain bottom side Courts Young Lions but Selvaraj does not want to put too much pressure on them picking up a much-needed three points, especially with their congested fixture schedule.

"Considering the fixtures, we can't really train much," he said. "Tonight [Sunday] we play, tomorrow [Monday] we'll probably do a short recovery session and then we only have two more training sessions before we play Young Lions.

"After Young Lions on Thursday, we're leaving for India [for next Tuesday's AFC Cup game against Churchill Brothers] and when we come back, we're playing Harimau Muda two days later. After that comes April and it starts again.

"We're playing six to seven matches a month in total and I definitely the rest [of my injured players] to be back as soon as possible.

"Honestly, I do not want to add pressure on my players - let's not talk about winning. We'll take it one step at a time.

"Based on the last two matches against Tampines and Balestier, we definitely need to settle down early in the game so I'll need to look into that."

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