The Singapore coach said his team will move on and shift their focus back to league after exiting the cup, while Josep Balague was delighted to see his team progress“Now we will start to shift our focus and concentrate on the S.League.” That was what Tampines Rovers coach Steven Tan told the press after his team's exit from this season's AFC Cup.
Tampines now sit in third place with five points after playing out a 0-0 draw with table-toppers Kitchee FC of Hong Kong and with the latter and Teregganu who trashed Song Lam Nghe An 6-2 earlier, both having ten and nine points each, it's game over for the Stags.
Coming into the post-match press conference, Steven expressed his disappointment and said, “I'm disappointed because we couldn’t get the win. The players gave their all and that’s football, we have to move on from here.
“Now we will start to shift our focus and concentrate on the S.League.”
The Stags advanced to the round of 16 last year and speaking on the differences between the team this season and last year, Steven believed that the main problem is with the team's finishing.
“The team’s improving and getting better now. Last season in the AFC Cup, we could get the goals with the chances we created but for this year, it’s seems like we are struggling to put the ball into the net.
“So, hopefully the drought stops in the AFC Cup and does not continue in the S.League!”
He also rejected the saying that this is not just Tampines's year.
“I don't think, the thing this season is just what we couldn’t finish off the chances we had this year. With the amount of chances we have in the different games, I think we just missed a lot of opportunities and that caused us the progress.”
The forty-two years then concluded and said, “It’s good to see that the players keep running up and down and the spirit is there, hopefully we can bring the spirit and channel it into the league.”For his counterpart, Kitchee's FC Spanish coach Josep Gombau, he was a happy man after seeing his team advance to the next round of the AFC Cup.
“Firstly, I am happy that we move on to the next round. Tampines is a very good team and we expected a very good fight.
“Secondly, we were very tired coming into this game due to our tight schedule with six games this month so I am delighted with the team’s play because we tried to play and get the ball.
“Lastly, I am very happy with getting the point as it allows us to advance to the round of 16.” said Josep.
The young coach who is only thirty-five years old this year then went on and praise his team's effort and promised that they would do thier best in the next round.
“We are a team who have no experience in the AFC Cup as we aren’t the strongest team a few years back. Last season, we won the league and we are in a good position to win the league this year again.
“We are playing for the participation and for us to move on to the next round, it’s very important for the team. We will do the best and make the best out of we can in the next round.” concluded Josep.