Safuwan: More pressure heaped on as things get worse

LionsXII vice-captain Safuwan Baharudin has admitted that the team's current wretched run of form has put more stress on them.

The utility player said that the team’s current position in the league as well as increased expectations after winning the title last year had put them under severe pressure this season.

Fans' criticism of recent performances had also not helped the cause, with the LionsXII stumbling badly in recent fixtures.

Singapore’s sole representative in Malaysia's football league competition has failed to replicate their success from last year, and has already lost 10 league games following Saturday evening’s 2-0 defeat to relegation-threatened Perak FA.

While the LionsXII had 19 shots compared to just 7 for their counterparts, failure to take their chances coupled with a superb goalkeeping performance by Perak custodian Razi Effendi resulted in an upset.

“I think we had a number of shots but at the end of the day we want goals,” Safuwan told FourFourTwo.

“Even if the stats were to be higher than Perak’s, I think there’s no point looking at it.”

Safuwan revealed that morale had been low following the recent run of poor results, but felt that luck had not been on their side.

“Maybe [the low morale] might play a part but I think it shouldn’t be used as an excuse; we are professional enough to carry on our job,” he reflected.

“It is not only not my day but the team’s as well.

"Things have not been going our way, even today.

“The fans are coming down and going home disappointed and at the end of the day you can see we give our all, but the ball is just not going into the the back of the net."

The 23-year-old Singaporean international admitted that things had gotten from bad to worse recently, and acknowledged the disgruntlement from fans of late.

“There’s always pressure in every game," he said.

"Expectations were high this year because we were the defending champions but now, we are at eighth position currently and things are not going our way.

“People are talking bad about us and the pressure is piling on more after every single game.

"Things are going even worse now.”

However, the Safuwan was steadfast when assessing his team’s intention for the final game of the season on Wednesday against T-Team, where a draw would all but confirm automatic qualification for Malaysia’s biggest cup competition instead of having to go through a playoff match.  

“The only thing we can do now is to carry on our job."

"We’ve got pride to represent for LionsXII and Singapore.

"We want to do our best and qualify.

“We cannot go into the Malaysia Cup with four or five games without a win.”