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Koichi Sugiyama: I am taking it a game at a time

Koichi Sugiyama: I am taking it a game at a time

Zeng Liwei

The Albirex coach was wary of adding pressure to his team to achieve more success citing the difficulties faced in the previous season

Harimau Muda A assistant coach Hassan Sazali felt that the early goal scored by Albirex Niigata (S) had destabilised his team before the break.

“The players have shown me a great performance despite losing to Albirex Niigata but error in the first few minutes of the game cost us dearly as we conceded an early goal and also concentration in the first half," said Hassan who was sitting in for the suspended Ong Kim Swee.

Half-time team talk had given an added boost of confidence and concentration as Harimau came back strongly in the second half but the lack of finishing in front of goal is something that the coaching staff will have to look into before their next game.

“We had at least four to five clear chances on goal in the second half but the players were not able to convert it into goals," lamented Hassan.

“We have identified this as a problem in the squad at this moment and will be looking to rectify this before the next league game about a month from now.”
Although his team had won,Albirex Niigata (S) coach Koichi Sugiyama feels that there are several areas in which the team has to improve on and also felt that the game should have seen more than just a single goal.

“I am happy because the whole team had worked together and contributed to where the team is now in the league,” he said referencing his side's current top position.

“But even though we won against Harimau, there are a few points which the team has to reflect upon.

“We scored early in the first half but after that we lost control of the game and possession. I believe that if we did not lose control of the game, we would have been able to score more than a goal tonight,” added he reigning S.League Coach of the Year.

Sugiyama added that although there are several new players to the squad this season, they are still playing the type of game that he had introduced to the team.

“We have not changed out style of play from previous years," he said.

"Our team philosophy is still the same as before and the players bring this into the field.”

Sugiyama also warned that unnecessary pressure on his players had cost his team the title last season and prefers not to think of the title despite being only seven games more to go in the league, adding: “Last year we won the League Cup and there was pressure on the players to win the league, which is why we eventually lost it.”

“But this year, we don’t think about the league title and, or the league table. I am taking it a game at a time and hopefully we are able to taste victory in all the games.”