The Croatian claims that this largely local makeup of his side was one of his best line-ups ever, while Hougang United caretaker coach Amin Nasir bemoaned defensive errors
Brunei DPMM coach Vjeran Simunic declared that the team that featured during the 1-0 win over Hougang United was his “favourite team” ever as his charges pieced together a third consecutive victory.
"It could have been six or seven nil if it was not for their goalkeeper Fadhil Salim, who I think was their most outstanding player on the pitch" barked the Croatian.
Despite being under pressure by both fans and management to play his import players more, the larger-than-life Simunic stuck by his guns, fielding his band of locals ahead of the foreigners, and the results are beginning to show.
"I am enjoying coaching this team," he beamed.
"You look at the team that played today and they are the Brunei national team. We can play with any team now and win, even Tampines Rovers.
"This is the best team [I have coached]. They are my favourite team. They haven't lost in eight games. They can beat any national team, even Malaysia!”
The 58-year-old was not pleased with referee Abdul Malik Bashir's performance, but chose to highlight the positives rather than negatives after bagging the crucial three points.
"It was a very sweet victory [but] we should have closed it out with the chances we had,” Simunic admitted.
“It was a very physical game today, but I'm pleased with the way we prepared despite not playing for one whole month.”
The result followed on from victories over Harimau Muda (3-1) and Courts Young Lions (3-2), and the DPMM chieftain was relieved that his team had replicated those performances to dig out another win.
"We are currently top of the bottom [half], so every game from now on is a big game,” Siumnic explained.
“I told my boys that if they can repeat their performances against Courts Young Lions and Harimau Muda, they can win every game.
"You can see it is a very tight league. Geylang beat Warriors 3-0 [last night], so it is important that I keep this team free of injury and suspension.”
Hougang caretaker coach Amin Nasir was deflated after an industrious performance by his charges proved to be fruitless.
"Obviously we're disappointed, we lost concentration towards the end of the first half,” he pointed out, before bemoaning the seven minutes added on, during which they conceded the sole winner by Rodrigo Tosi.
“I thought seven minutes was too long, but we cannot make any excuses. We got caught napping and they capitalised with that corner kick.”
Fadhil had another stand-out performance during the defeat and Amin was quick to heap praise on the Cheetahs shot-stopper, who “kept his side in the game”.
"I'm pleased with Fadhil's performance,” he said.
“He kept us in the game and his saves meant that we were still in a chance of getting an equaliser. We certainly need to sit down with the backline and talk about some of the mistakes that cost us today.
"We're playing at home in our next game, so we have to pick ourselves back up. We need to recover as soon as possible and word hard for these next three games.”