'Hopefully we can build on this and keep working hard for better results' - SAFFC coach Richard Bok hopes team can carry on their resurgence

The three time S.League coach of the year was delighted to see his team climb into the top half of the table, while Steven Tan believes fatigue is the main reason for the loss

“Hopefully we can build on this and keep working hard for better results.”

That was SAFFC coach Richard Bok's comments after seeing his team overcome the reigning S.League champions 1-0 at the Clementi stadium.

Despite the Stag's domination for large parts of the game, they failed to covert their chances and Mislav Karoglan duly punished them in the 84th minute, scoring the only goal of the game.

Speaking to the media after the match, the coach had a big smile on his face and said,  “[Other than two consecutive wins, it’s] two clean sheets also, which is a bonus for us.

“The team worked very hard but I think Tampines was good in the first half and we could not even get near the ball.

“But we improved in the second half, as we started to move the ball and pressed them. I thought we were hungrier and the desire was there, as they [the players] wanted to win this game.” 

When quizzed on his opinions on what stood out in the game tonight, the forty-two year old replied without thinking and said. “I think the whole team stood out!” 

Richard then went on and said, “Of course Kari scored the goal but before that there was a good move and so it was a team effort.

“The whole team defended well and in terms of attacking, we moved the ball around much better in the second half.”

After getting maximum points in the last two matches, SAF is currently on a mini-revival as they surged to the top-half of the table, piping Gombak United to seventh place.

The three times S.League coach of the year believed that this result will give his team confidence and he hopes that they could build on this and continue achieve better results. 

“[We had] two losses and a draw before the game against Hougang United last week and now we have two wins in a row with two clean sheets to definitely boost the morale and bring confidence to the team.

“Hopefully we can build on this and keep working hard for better results.”

His counterpart, Tampines coach Steven Tan, attributed the loss to his team’s fatigue as they played in mid-week against Kitchee FC of Hong Kong in the AFC Cup, but he also believed that finishing is a key problem for the team.  

“Fatigue lah. Can see that during the [final] fifteen to twenty minutes of the game, the players tired already.

“But it’s not an excuse for us, the goal was very sloppy, as we [Karoglan] managed to get passed our players easily.”

With usual starters Anaz Hadee and Imran Sahib out due to suspensions, the Tampines defence looked fragile at times, dealing with the likes of King Kari and winger Tatsuro Inui but Steven refused to use this as a reason.

“It has nothing to do with them. All the players I field can play well and it’s the concentration I would say.” said Steven.

The current S.League champions have had problems scoring goals in the past few games and this was not due to the lack of chances as they showed in the matches against Albirex Niigata, Kitchee and SAF, but the failure to convert those chances.

“We dominated possession but like I say, if we don’t penetrate then nothing matters. How long do you expect the defence to hold on if you kept missing up front? Sooner or later, the backline would crumble.

“Now we just have to refresh and let everybody have a good rest and hopefully we can come back stronger.” Steven concluded.