Steinebrunner wants Eagles to play without pressure

Geylang International head coach Jorg Steinebrunner believes his side's inability to cope with heightened expectations has led to a poor start to their 2015 S.League campaign.

Others may say 0-0 is a fair result, but for us on the bench, it’s disappointing

- Jorg Steinebrunner

Things had looked rosy for Geylang in the off-season as they managed to assemble a handy squad which consisted of the likes of Yazid Yasin, Jozef Kaplan, Tatsuro Inui and Bruno Castanheira.

Many keen S.League observers had touted them as dark horses for the title but so far it has been a sluggish start for the Eagles as they have yet to taste victory in their first three games of the season.

A defeat to Balestier Khalsa and draws against Home United and Hougang United mean they have only collected two points thus far.

They have not found much joy in front of goal either, with Kaplan accounting for both goals scored this season while Inui and Castanheira have yet to get off the mark.

Speaking to FourFourTwo after Thursday night’s 0-0 stalemate against Hougang, Steinebrunner believes his side need to stave off the pressure of competitive matches to prop up the table.

Geylang and Hougang fought out a 0-0 draw on Thursday night at Bedok Stadium

“As I mentioned before, pre-season and the season is two different things,” he said.

“If you look at the game tonight, there was not much difference to how we did in pre-season. It’s just that there’s more pressure when we play in the league; that’s a given. 

“I’ve been telling the boys that there’s no need to change their attitudes or characters and there’s no need to be pressured by anyone. You saw it tonight that they wanted the ball more and took more responsibility in the game, which was something good to see.

“While Jozef has got off the mark and scored two, Bruno is working very hard every game and he just needs the luck; those little things like if the ball touches him and go in.”

Having failed to break down the resolute Hougang defence, Steinebrunner admitted it was ‘two points dropped’ for his side.

“If you look at how many shots and how much ball possession we had, we should have won the game,” he said.

“After two minutes, we could have gone 1-0 up if we had not hit the post. We were the more active team even in the second half and I don’t remember [Hougang] had any chance that we would say in a sense was close.

“Others may say 0-0 is a fair result, but for us on the bench, it’s disappointing.”

Bruno Castanheira has yet to find the net for the Eagles

The Eagles will now take a three-week break before taking on Eastern neighbours Tampines Rovers on 3 April in search of their first win of the season.

With ample time to recharge and regroup, Steinebrunner is keeping the faith that his side has what it takes to break their duck.

“Overall we’ve improved from our last game against Balestier and we’ve played some good football (this time round),” he said.

“If one or two things fell in place, we should have gotten the win.

“Maybe there’s still that little bit which is missing, but if we keep working hard and doing the right things, I’m convinced the win will come soon.”

Photos: Amirul Asyraf/S.League