Aw: Not so easy for Tampines to win title

Home United coach Philippe Aw believes his side has issued a statement of intent by downing title favourites Tampines Rovers on Friday night.

Much of the pre-season talk had revolved around Tampines assembling a quality squad to wrest the S.League crown back.

Aw was therefore delighted that his side had managed to prove a point by inflicting a first defeat of the season to the much-vaunted Stags – closing the gap between themselves and the top to just one point in the process.

“I remember in our pre-season press conference that you guys were telling me that Tampines will win the title even before the ball is kicked,” he said.

“I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; it’s not going to be that easy. I don’t want it to be so easy as well because it won’t be good for the league.

“A competitive league will only increase local football standards and that’s what we’re trying to do at Home United.

“It’s not just about winning games but also trying to change things in terms of injecting youth and making football more entertaining here.”

There were alarm bells ringing in certain quarters after Home only managed to pick up draws in their opening two games, but all was well once again after last night’s impressive display.

“There were people who were saying that there were some doubts in our abilities, but we never doubted ourselves,” Aw said.

“We worked hard in training, prepared well for this game and showed great desire which was pleasing to see.

“After the opening exchanges where Tampines had two good chances, we shored things up and restricted them to just a few pot shots and chances from set pieces.

“The whole team ran their socks off and we put in the chances which we had. Now with these three points on board, we can only get stronger.”

The continued excellence of new Danish forward Ken Ilsø Larsen was another factor for Aw to be pleased about.

Apart from hitting his third goal in as many games and contributing an assist, the former Fortuna Dusseldorf player showed his willingness to work hard and constantly tracked back to help out in defence.

 “Our philosophy is to attack and defend as a team,” Aw said.

“There is no one player that can be exempted from defending. From day one, I’ve said Ken is a team player and you could see the amount of work rate he put in today.

“In the last few minutes of the game, he was suffering cramp but still wanted to play on for the team.”

“Upfront, we knew he will be marked this whole season, but he scored a goal and created another – what more can I ask for?”

This win propelled the Protectors into fourth in the standings, just a point behind the likes of Brunei DPMM, Warriors FC and Tampines Rovers.

However, Aw was not keen to rest on his laurels with a daunting visit to Bandar Seri Begawan next up on the cards.

“There are still so many things to improve and we’re definitely not the finished product,” he said.

“We’ll take these three points, celebrate the win on Saturday and that’s it. We’ll put in behind and prepare for Brunei.”