Alex Weaver: Things didn't go according to plan

The Hougang coach making his S.League debut was delighted with the victory but admitted that not everything went as expected
Alex Weaver’s Hougang United edged out Courts Young Lions by a solitary goal in a delayed season opener as the Young Lions’ lack of creativity upfront cost them.

A goal from Syaqir Sulaiman settled the match between the two teams who were under two new coaches.

Speaking after the game, Courts Young Lions’ coach, Aide Iskandar, was well aware of his team’s shortcomings upfront given the absence of a few key players.

“Our lack of creativity upfront can be narrowed down to the fact that some players were not available for this match due to National Service and some went to Brunei for training," said the former Hougang coach.

"Sherif El-Masri was also unavailable for this match."

Nevertheless, Aide acknowledged that his boys gave a good fight and will pick up form as the season progresses.

“It was difficult for Hougang to take us down and it is just the first game," he said.

"I believe the team will improve with more games coming up."

Despite starting his S.League venture with a winning start, former Stoke academy coach, Alex Weaver claimed that the whole evening did not go as planned.

"It was messy," he said, before adding, "I'm not referring to the Barcelona player of course!"

“The whole evening didn’t go according to plan. The only huge positive of the whole evening is that they were successful dealing with the things thrown at them. We could say we were successful but in terms of going to plan, no."

He also stated that communication was key to keep his team in focus after the long delay due to the lightning alert prior to kick-off.

“We kept them (the players) informed all the time," he clarified.

"Communication was vital but we couldn’t answer them when they asked what was happening. Whenever we received any weather check updates from the ground, we told them right away. We kept on talking to the players about keeping their focus and we had certain things up on the board to remind them of their jobs. But not too much."

The Englishman also insisted that leaving Liam Shotton on the bench was vital to helping the latter gain his confidence as opposition players would be less sharp in the later stages of the game.

“Liam started off really well in Singapore but in the couple of games afterwards (during pre-season), his first touch was missing a little bit and his head went down," he pointed out.

"I saw that his confidence wasn’t how it should be. I told Liam before the Singapore Cricket Club match that he would be coming on in the second half."

Following the victorious start, the Cheetahs will next take on Brunei DPMM FC away from home, while the Cubs will have to deal with Tampines who opened their campaign with a stunning 5-0 win at Geylang.