Singapore were criticised for being too conservative in their approach during the AFF Suzuki Cup, but coach V. Sundramoorthy has insisted that his side had an attacking mindset going into each game.
Singapore failed to impress in the tournament as they finished at the foot of the Group A standings after drawing one and losing two of their group stage matches.
The Lions were one of the teams to watch coming into the competition as they had won it four times, but like in 2014, they were unable to get past the group stage.
All in all, Singapore only managed to score once in their three group stage matches, but Sundramoorthy made it clear that the intent to get more goals was there.
“We were attacking the Philippines until the moment we received a harsh red card and, in the next game [against Thailand],” he told The New Paper. “The statistics showed that we had more shots than Thailand, both in the number of shots, as well the number of shots on target.”
Even though Singapore fell well short of expectations in the AFF Suzuki Cup, Sundramoorthy refused to blame his squad as he feels they did their best to win every game.
“Every player I picked showed 100 percent commitment during training, and in matches, and all of them definitely gave it their all. As a coach, I could not have asked for more from them in terms of commitment,” he said. “While there are areas for improvement, which I will present in my report to the FAS Council, I am generally pleased with the attitude and dedication of our players.
“This is the best squad available and, considering the likes of Fazrul Nawaz (Tampines Rovers) and Iqbal Hussain (Hougang United) were injured, I’d probably still have selected this team.”
The 51-year-old, though, admitted that his side let the opportunity of reaching the semi-finals slip through their hands when they lost 2-1 in a must-win match against Indonesia last Friday.
Singapore were leading 1-0 at half-time before Indonesia brought themselves level in the 62nd minute. With five minutes left to go in the game, the Lions’ worst nightmare became a reality as Indonesia scored again to book their spot in the last four.
“We were 30 minutes away from qualifying for the semifinals… we should, and could, have scored more than one goal in the last two matches to secure full points against Thailand and Indonesia, but that’s football,” Sundramoorthy said.