Kanan preparing for Geylang resurgence

Ahead of Saturday's Great Eastern-YEO's clash with Tampines Rovers, Geylang coach V. Kanan has revealed that morale within the Eagles camp is currently very high.

Celebration time for the Eagles.

By Gabriel Tan

The Eagles got their season off to a terrible start after losing their first three games and following the 7-1 trashing at the hands of Home United, former coach Mike Wong was replaced by Kanan.

Since then, he has guided Geylang to their first win of the season - a shock 3-1 victory over high-flying Balestier - and while they remain stranded near the bottom of the table, Kanan believes things are on the up at the Bedok Stadium.

"The win [over] Balestier has brought a lot of belief in the players and the team," Kanan told ESPNSTAR.com.

"They believe that we can compete against any team if we play as one cohesive unit.

"The players are motivated and very positive in training."

When asked if he was setting any target in terms of a league position come the end of the season, Kanan insisted he was more focused on getting the team on the right track in terms of the style of football they play.

"I have not set any target for the rest of the season," he revealed.

"My main target now is to build the team to adapt to the new style and philosophy of my coaching, which is playing total football with good attacking play.

"There have been a lot of changes in the team in terms of discipline and training attitude. The players are positive and we can see a lot of improvement."

Two players that have impressed this season have been Michael King and Rhema Obed, both of whom found the back of the net in the win over Balestier.

However, Kanan insists it is not the efforts of the duo, but the whole team, that will be key to the Eagles' fortunes for the remainder of the campaign.

"I wouldn't single out Rhema or Michael although having said that, they are good players," Kanan added.

"It's the whole team playing as a unit that will bring some results to the club."

At the top end of the table, traditional giants SAFFC, Home United and Tampines Rovers have all been struggling for form, allowing foreign sides DPMM FC and Harimau Muda to both grab a share of the lead.

While Kanan insists this is not the most competitive S.League season he was witnessed, he does admit the level has gone up compared to recent years, and is expecting one of the foreign sides to go all the way and emulate Etoile's 2010 triumph.

"I have been following the S.League since it started in 1996," he revealed. "I will never say this is toughest season.

"I think the first six years of the S.League were the toughest seasons. Back then, we had a pool of quality local players spread among all the clubs. And the foreign players in those years were real quality.

"Having said that, this year's league is one of the toughest compared to the past four years. The three foreign teams add a lot of flavour to the S.League, especially Harimau Muda and DPMM.

"Albirex [Niigata] also have a good team and I think one of the foreign teams will win the league."

Kanan will be looking to record his second win since taking over when his side are next in action on Saturday, but it will not be easy coming up against Eastern derby rivals Tampines.

And considering the quality they will be coming up against, Kanan admits he will be happy with a draw at the Clementi Stadium.

"We have been preparing very hard for the game against Tampines Rovers," Kanan added. "It is not going to be easy for us, especially since Tampines have some good and experienced players.

"They have six foreign players playing on the field [including naturalised Singaporeans Aleksandar Duric and Mustafic Fahrudin]. Their confidence level is also very high after beating Home United last Thursday.

"As for us, we're not going to make things easy for Tampines to take all three points from us.

"We need to work hard as a team just like how we played against Balestier and then we can get at least a draw. A win will be a bonus for us."

Victory for Geylang on Saturday would see them leapfrog Tanjong Pagar United into 11th, while Tampines can actually go top if results go their way, although that is very unlikely considering league leaders DPMM are in action against bottom club Courts Young Lions.



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