“We have to be consistent and maintain the effort.” That was Tanjong Pagar coach Terry Pathmanathan's words for his team after their 1-0 win over Balestier Khalsa at the Queenstown stadium.
The Jaguars have been impressive recently, upsetting title contenders Home United 1-0 last week and stunning high flyers Balestier with the same score line again tonight, thanks to Japanese midfielder Takaya Kawanabe who notched the winning goal in both matches.
Speaking to the media after the match, the former Singapore international believed that the 5-0 loss to Courts Young Lions two weeks ago was the turning point for his team.
“I think that [the 5-0 loss] was a big wake-up call to the players. After that, probably they have realized how they let the club down.
“It’s good to see them bouncing back in the last two games and there’s so much of difference in terms of the hunger, the commitment level which moved up. Every player is putting in his best effort, rather than to be complacent and take things easy.
“We have to be consistent and maintain the effort. It might not be easy as some might lose their focus but we will just turn the screw from time to time.” said Terry.
He went on to heap praises on some his players and said, “We lost a few players due to injuries and suspension but I think the others who came in were great tonight.
“Azhar [Ahmad] was excellent in the middle, [Syed] Karim who came on after a lengthy injury also pushed himself hard and as usual Takaya is our main contributor.
“The back four with the keeper also did well. Of course, credit must be given to Balestier who gave us a good fight and it was not easy dealing with their highball tactics.”
When quizzed what's his thought after the two consecutive run which got the team out of the bottom three, the coach replied, “We still got a lot of catching up to do. We are struggling in the table and now it’s the time for us to catch up as soon as possible.”
It has been a tough week for Balestier coach Darren Stewart and the club as midfield general Ridwan Jamil was ruled out for the season due to a torn ACL and Tengku Mushadad was also sidelined with a knee injury.
When quizzed if he was disappointed with the team tonight, he smiled and replied instantly, “Not with the performance but the result of course. The lads played well, really well.”
The Tigers dominated the match but failed to create any good chances and Darren believed that the problem tonight was simply that the team could not score.
“We couldn’t score, [had] a lot of possession in the attacking third but we just couldn’t score.
“I just don’t think that we looked like scoring tonight, but the effort and performance were just tremendous.”
The Australian then concluded and said, “We have four to five first team players out but the lads put in such great effort and it was really pleasing. It has been a bad week for us and I hope it ends here.”