The Warriors coach was willing to take positives from the defeat and pointed to injuries while Stewart said the victory helped distract from personal mattersBalestier Khalsa coach, Darren Stewart, was full of praise for his team following their convincing 2-0 win over the troubled Warriors FC at Toa Payoh Stadium on Sunday night.
Stewart told the assembled media that his players had given him a real morale booster after a week of dealing with some personal issues that had distracted him from the football for a while.
“The players made me forget all about that with the way they played, there were so many positives to take from the game,” he said.
“For starters Qiu Li was struggling, but continued to play on and I don’t know how anyone can doubt his commitment in the game after that.
"I’ll be surprised if he can walk tomorrow, I’m sure something’s broken, but he wanted to play on, that’s how genuine the guy is.
“Also Ruhaizad was having some problems with his hamstring and I was thinking of taking him off before he set up that second goal."
In the end the scorer of the opening goal and the creator of the second hobbled off seven minutes into the second half.
“I don’t like to single out individual players, as you know, and it was another strong team effort tonight, but apart from Qiu Li, Park (Park Kang Jin) was ‘a different class’ tonight.
“Other teams have their marquee players, but Park showed most of them up tonight. Qiu Li had two big cuts on his leg, his leg swelled up to five times its normal size, so you can tell how amazed I was that he wanted to play on.
“After the unlucky loss in the last match against Tampines the boys proved once again how good they are tonight.
“I can’t talk about how poorly the Warriors played at all, I’d rather talk about how well my boys played; I can’t take anything away from my boys at all."
The Warriors’ coach, V. Selvaraj, admitted that he was under immense pressure after yet another loss, but insisted that he didn’t want to pile any more pressure on his players who ‘did their very best’.
He pointed to the continued absence of marquee player, Kazuyuki Toda, who won’t be fit for Thursday’s game against Courts Young Lions at Choa Chu Kang Stadium either, after failing to respond to treatment.
Selvaraj has quite a few players out, especially defenders.
“We have four key players out and we have a mountain to climb at the moment without them," said the Warriors coach.
"I’m not making excuses, but we are having to make do with who we have available at the moment, with Zulfadli (ZainalAbidin) still not ready yet and Vida (Marin Vidosevic) out suspended for one more game.
Toda and latest signing Syed Fadhil are also continuing absentees.
“The players worked hard, they had a better second half, but they were far too slow to settle down in the first half,” he reflected.
“We created some chances, but we failed to take them. We must learn to settle down quicker, early in our games, but I will take the positives after we had a much better second half.
“The pressure is on me and not the players. I am only able to ask them to do their best and they are working hard."