Stange hails high-intensity football

Singapore national team head coach Bernd Stange believes that their brand of 'combination football' will boost the Lions' AFF Suzuki Cup defence.

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The defending ASEAN Champions displayed some crisp passing play against Laos on Thursday night as they took a two-goal lead into the break.

Despite struggling to maintain the quick tempo as the game wore on, Stange is adamant that his men will sort out the kinks in due time.

“It’s not possible to play this kind of high-speed football with a lot of short passes and overlapping after just 10 days with the national team,” he argued at the post-match press conference.

“Players have to play this way every week in the S.League. It’s a process which we began last year, when we established, all the way to the goalkeeper, that no one is to go kicking long balls.

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“It’s wrong to say this is a Bernd Stange system - these are the demands of modern football.

“We played very well in Bahrain for 60 minutes and tried to extend that to 75 minutes in this game. Maybe in the next game I will try to extend it to 80.”

“Combination football, overlapping, high intensity and high fitness – that’s the way we want to go. It’s a long way [to go], but please believe me – we will make this the way of playing amongst the youngsters and mould speedy and fast football players of them.”

Stange was left to reflect on a ‘well-deserved win’ in what was just the Lions’ second win in nine international matches, as well as only their second clean sheet this year.

“The result is exactly what we wanted,” said the 66-year-old.  

“We played well, especially in the first half under wet conditions. Try moving around on this pitch and you can feel [in terms of exertion] what it means to play under such circumstances.

“I’ve great respect for what the players have delivered.

“Also, Laos have qualified for the tournament, so they’re not a team that have come from the streets.

“The most important thing was to pick up a clean sheet, and we did that by defending well. We’re going home pleased and confident after this performance.”

Despite just over a week to go before the tournament proper kicks off, Stange is still ‘undecided’ over the final 22 players for the eventual squad.

READ ALSO Singapore submits 35-man Suzuki Cup squad

“We have 24 players and I’ll make a very late decision,” explained the German.

“It’ll be a mistake to decide now, in case we have one or two injuries. Let’s leave it as it is now and we will finally nominate 22 of the best players.

“Of course, it will be heartbreaking [for those not selected].”

The Lions clash with Cambodia in their final preparatory match on 17th November, before taking on Thailand for the opening Group B game in the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup.

Photo credit: Lim Weixiang/FourFourTwo