Bacina wants winning mentality from Stags

Nenad Bacina believes his Tampines Rovers side's 2-1 Charity Shield win over Warriors FC will stand them in good stead for the new Great Eastern-YEO's S.League season.

Tampines, 2013 Charity Shield champions!
Gabriel Tan

By Gabriel Tan

The Stags raced to a two-goal lead after 12 minutes of Friday's clash at the Jalan Besar Stadium thanks to goals from new signing Kunihiro Yamashita and the returning Khairul Amri, but their opponents pulled one back ten minutes after the break through an opportunistic strike from Sufian Anuar.

Nonetheless, Tampines ultimately did enough for the win and, while he admitted his side's performance dropped in the second half, Bacina was pleased with the way they grinded out the victory.

"I'm very pleased with this Charity Shield trophy," he said. "It's definitely a good feeling.

"It's going to be a good, interesting season and I think this one will give us more confidence for the coming season definitely.

"Of course, you don't need to be a football expert to know it was a game of two halves. I'm very pleased with the first half and cannot be satisfied with the second.

"But not matter how badly we played and how we failed to maintain our first-half performance, we didn't lose so this is good. Sometimes you have to be able to maintain a winning position so I have to congratulate my players - they worked hard for this."

Despite Tampines having one of the strongest squads in the competition last season, Bacina has heavily reinforced over the off-season by bringing in a plethora of big-name signings, including Argentine marquee player Martin Wagner, Japanese defenders Yamashita and Seiji Kaneko, and ex-LIONSXII stars Shaiful Esah, Shahdan Sulaiman and Amri.

While all the new faces showed positive signs on Friday, the Croatian tactician was particularly pleased with the way his defence of Jufri Taha, Yamashita, Kaneko and Shaiful is shaping up.

"Kuni scored the first and it was a good delivery from Shaiful," he added. "That's something we're working on and we want to improve on this because we are strong in the air.

"I'm quite happy with the backline. Tampines used to play with a three-man defence but we are now trying to set up four at the back and I'm very happy with their performance."

Bacina is currently in his first season at the Clementi Stadium, having led Hougang United to a respectable 8th-place finish in the league last year.

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