By Gabriel TanFollow @@gabetan13
The Eagles, who were made to endure a difficult start to 2013, picked up their fourth win of the campaign at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday thanks to Wahyudi Wahid's 69th-minute diving header, and are now 8th on the 12-team table.
Before the season started, many expected the Bedok Stadium outfit to deliver on their promise of a top-five finish, and now that they are starting signs of improvement, Kanan does not see why that cannot still be the case.
"We definitely want to finish in the top five and I think we will make it," he said. "That's my target for the players.
"We are slowly getting into our rhythm and are climbing up the table.
"I was set the target of [getting] 16 points at the halfway mark of the season. Unfortunately, we only managed 14 points but I think it's still a decent achievement.
"We must not forget that we are the team with the lowest budget in the league and we have plenty of youngsters and inexperienced players. I think we've done well to finish above some of the teams with bigger budgets.
"The local boys are starting to gel and the young boys are getting better. They are starting to play well and that's why we are getting the results.
"Some people predicted us to finish in the top three at the start of the season and that's still on the cards. We're not giving up."
Yet it could have been so different on Friday had the Young Lions been able to capitalise on their first-half dominance, but Kanan insists allowing the opponents to dictate proceedings was all part of his plan.
"People will say we didn't play well in the first half but this was our tactical plan," he explained. "We wanted to stay patient in the first half before pressing them and attacking in the second half.
"That's why we looked sluggish in the first half and allowed them to play - it was our tactic. We didn't care how the game unfolded as long as we got the three points."
Geylang certainly were not lacking in outstanding players on the night, with Wahyudi enhancing his growing reputation with a well-taken goal, while the likes of Norihiro Kawakami and Delwinder Singh were steady at the back.
Nonetheless, the star of the show, according to Kanan, was once again his captain Jozef Kaplan, and he questioned why the Slovak was not awarded April's S.League Player of the Month award, which instead went to Home United's Lee Kwan-woo.
"I don't know why he didn't win the best player [of the month] award," he added. "I think he's the best foreigner in the league.
"Jozef is one of the top scorers and one of the best performers. I have played Jozef in 11 games this season and he has been my man of the match in all 11 games."
Young Lions coach Aide Iskandar was again left a disappointed man as his young charges put in a spirited display, only to leave empty-handed once more.
Still, the ex-Singapore captain - as ever - chose to focus on the positives from Friday's game.
"I feel sorry for the boys for the result," he said. "We should have gotten at least a point.
"Unfortunately we didn't but I have to give credit to the boys - they did their best. But moving forward, I have to take the positives from this game.
"A few players were playing for the first time in awhile, like Syazwan [Buhari], Sahil [Suhaimi] and Stanely [Ng]. I'm quite happy with how things are shaping up.
"We played much better than we did in the last game and hopefully we can improve on today's [Friday's] display as we try to get our first win."
Aide also insisted he has not been taken aback by the task of the job and is relishing the chance to groom Singapore football's next batch of youngsters.
"I expected it to be like this and, like I said, I'm working with young players," he added. "Some of them are still raw and unpolished.
"It's my job to make them better. Building a team is never easy and I know the challenges are there but we have to work around them.
"All I can do is stay positive and I think the boys are also trying to stay as positive as possible. I don't think we'll go winless throughout the season.
"God is fair and I don't think God will punish us for nothing. It's just a matter of us keeping on working."
Next up for Young Lions is a bottom-of-the-table clash away to Hougang United next Tuesday, while Geylang face a tricky trip to leaders and defending champions Tampines Rovers, who are currently unbeaten in the league this season, two days later.
Image courtesy of VOXSPORTS (Darren Ho)