The Hougang United coach watched his side succumb to a late winner from Tanjong Pagar despite twice taking the lead, but still reserved praise for his team's effortsTanjong Pagar United edged Hougang United 3-2 in a thrilling match on Friday night after twice falling behind, thanks to a late goal by Ismael Benahmed seven minutes from time
Jaguars coach Patrick Vallee was delighted with his team’s performance, and believes that the exciting display of football by both teams was something that is “good for the S-League”.
The victory snapped a two-game winless streak and one would have thought the Frenchman would be relieved to gotten back to winning ways, but he insists that wasn’t on his mind.
“I don’t care much about tonight’s game,” Vallee claimed.
“At the start of the season, I told my players one objective: in the first five matches, if we can get ten points out of 15, then it is very good.”
Hougang United coach Alexander Weaver, on the other hand, expressed approval with his team’s efforts, saying that they “could have, should have” gotten the victory instead.
When asked whether his side was unlucky to have lost, he was quick to assert that they were not, although he agreed that the own goal came in at an “especially really bad time”.
“The first goal was unlucky because the ball was coming across and the guy [Benahmed] connected with it really well,” Weaver pointed out.
“The shot [from Hafiz Nor] was going over and wide [for the second goal], but it hit Syaqir in the face and it was coming at him really quickly, so that was unlucky.
“I thought we could have hung on in the first half, and that would have been huge.
“We did really well in the first half and later they changed their system just slightly to deal with that, and that was a big compliment.”
The Englishman did concede that a lack of focus in the latter stages of the game allowed Tanjong Pagar to punish them.
“If you give quality players like Benahmed time and space in the box, they’d only need half a chance [to score],” Weaver stated matter-of-factly.
“We lacked a little bit of concentration in the later stages, and they’ve punished us for it because they have quality players.
Despite that, Weaver still reserved praise for his players.
“The players have done ever so well tonight and are bitterly disappointed, as I am, to have lost the game,” he said.
“It’s very disappointing really, because they’ve worked so hard during training, as they always do.”