The Singapore coach who made his competitive bow at Jalan Besar Stadium defended the Lions' performance following the lossFollowing Wednesday night's 2-0 home defeat to Oman in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifying match, Singapore coach Bernd Stange assured fans that the Lions were on the right track and improvement would take time and effort.
"It was not a disaster and we never lost our face during this game, we tried everything and I had a good feeling from our fans that they are supporting the team," said an optimistic Stange at the post-match press conference.
"Tomorrow we will have our analysis. We will find out we had more possession and we dominated but we could not find the way for dangerous attacks. That's the mistake and that's why we lost the game today."
Stange pointed out several times over the course of the press conference the possession play of the Lions as an example of improvement even though the team struggled to make it out of their own half without resorting to wayward long balls.
The physical dominance of the Omani players and their relative wealth of international experience, despite missing key players of their own, was also another factor that led to the defeat added the German: "You have a clear picture of our team, it's not so bad as the result seems. We tried to dominate from the very first minute with possession. We conceded a goal, which is always possible, and finally the second goal, one minute before the half-time, it was a killer goal for us. The team was very disappointed during the half-time and we lifted them up and tried everything."
"They deserve to win, they are physically stronger, they have more chances, they created more. But I wasn't disappointed.
"It's a matter of movement, how to do run-ins, strikers have to come back, they have to learn to space, it needs a lot of commitment, exercise and practise to feel comfortable with it. Oman did it very well, there's much more international experience in the team of Oman. They are close to qualifying for the Olympics, they were very unlucky in not reaching the World Cup, It's a strong team.
"We have to make the next step. Please believe me, to make the next step it takes a little bit more time.
To dominate a match and have more possession doesn't mean you will win matches.
"We played long balls from our own half and we could not switch on the killer pass. We did not find our strikers, we did not play dangerous enough. But that takes awhile. it took us at least 2-3 months to play in this style, to dominate, to keep possession.
"It was not a disaster and we never lost our face during this game. We tried everything and I had a good feeling from our fans that they are supporting the team."
With the former Belarus manager focusing on the long term success of the Lions and placing emphasis on growth and development, questions over the Lions' remaining AFC Asian Cup qualifying still remained.
"We will always have a chance," said Stange on Singapore's next opponents in the competition, Syria.
"We will continue to play dominating football at home. We will do that but we have to improve things which we didn't do today, to split the defence, to find the strikers and we have to practice.
"The good thing is, I am convinced the players are absolutely convinced to follow this way. That is always a good feeling for a coach."