The Croatian was delighted with the results his team achieved but believed that they need to work hard and maintain it, while Darren Stewart hinted at big names coming to the club
“We are now champions of first stage and with the one month break, I need to work hard with my team to maintain their effort.” That was Brunei DPMM coach Vjeran Simunic's answers when quizzed about his feelings after seeing his team finishing as champions of the first half of the S.League.
After 13 rounds of fixtures, the league comes to the mid-way point of the season, where the team will take a one month break, and after beating Balestier Khalsa 3-1 at the Jalan Besar stadium the Wasps will definitely finish as leaders as they now hold a six points lead over second place Harimau Muda who will be playing on Sunday.
Speaking to the media after the game, the delighted Croatian said, “No title, but we achieved our target of being in the top five. My target is number five or maybe a little higher, third or fourth is also good.
“The title race is still wide open because I still see possibilities of SAFFC and Albirex Niigata catching us and becoming champion.”
He then went on and said, “Fighting for the first and fifth place makes no difference to me as its equally challenging.
“But the schedule for the second half of the season is horrible because we will play Tampines Rovers, Albirex and SAF at the start and we can lose all of them easily.
“Three months ago, I told you guys that my target is to bring his team back to the same standard as the one is 2009 and now I think now we are a little better now.”
The score line might suggest that it's an easy win for Brunei, but they were actually trailing 1-0 at half time and when asked if what he did to master a second half come back, Simunic replied, “I changed a lot during half time and that includes marking Zulkiffli Hassim who is their danger player. Also we improved on our defending against set pieces, which is their strong point.”
He then concluded by saying that his team needs to maintain consistency in the second half as champions are not won easily.
On the other hand, Balestier coach Darren Stewart also appeared happy when he came to talk to the press and when asked if where went wrong, the Australian replied,“Strange as it may seems but I don’t think we get wrong. We changed our system to 4-3-3 and we just kept going forward.
“Of course, there were a few mistakes there but we kept chasing towards the end. The boys efforts are absolutely tremendous and I believe no one would say it’s a 3-1 game. ”
The team were clearly missing star defender Goran Subara and midfielder Ridwan Jamil's presence in the middle of the park and the coach said that, for the upcoming transfer window, the club already got hold of some big names.
“We have already gotten a number of big names coming to the club in local terms and there will be a few surprises when we announce it soon.
“There are a couple of players from the big three hopefully.” concluded Stewart.