After three consecutive defeats against Oman, China and Hong Kong, Singapore coach Bernd Stange has admitted to being disappointed at the recent run of results for the national team, but is adamant that the players are on the right track.
The 65-year-old German gave an honest verdict on the situation of the national team when Goal Singapore spoke to him during the FAS Kids’ Day 2013 on Friday morning.
“You should never lose three [matches] in a row, it’s a rule for international football,” Stange candidly said.
“I’m not pleased with the results. But everybody who understands football, who sees how we perform and the way we are going, must believe in this team.”
The Lions went down to a 2-0 defeat at home against Oman in an 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifier, before suffering a 6-1 drubbing against China and a narrow 1-0 loss against Hong Kong in two subsequent friendlies.
However, Stange is adamant that his players will look beyond the results and improve in time.
“We cannot catch Japan and Korea [because] they have an advantage of at least 10 or 15 years, but we can make the first step and we will do so," he insisted.
Stange’s target for the national team is to play at the international standard of football, although he feels that the players are not yet close to the mark required to achieve that.
“If you see international matches everywhere in the world, they keep possession; they play 400, 600 passes [per game],” he explained.
“We have now 200 (passes). We have to improve. To keep possession, you need fitness. It means you need more training, more practice."
Stange also stressed the importance of having more training sessions for the national team. Currently, the Singapore team usually trains once a day, whereas top international teams have sessions in the morning and evening.
“They are more prepared for international football," Stange pointed out.
“It’s a long way [for the Singapore team]. You cannot change this in two months.”
The former Belarus coach has appealed to fans to give the team more time, saying it might take up to one year before tangible results on the team’s progress can be seen.
Even so, Stange believes that the most important issue now will be for the players themselves to believe in the direction the team is going.
“They (the players) like this kind of football, but know it’s hard to play," he said.
"It’s hard to move, it’s hard to run. We need fitness.
"But all the players believe in playing this way, and they like to play this kind of football, so that’s why we will continue to do so.”