Stange slams unacceptable LionsXII league campaign – report

Singapore head coach Bernd Stange is disappointed with LionsXII's performances this season, following their seventh-place finish in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) .

Singapore's representatives ended the season unbeaten at home, but their poor away form meant they only improved on their 2014 campaign by a single spot in the 12-team league.

"To me, the LionsXII cannot be finishing in the bottom half of a Malaysian league," Stange told the Straits Times this week, as the national team prepared for their upcoming World Cup qualifier against Syria.

"That is not the standard. Most of the LionsXII players are from the national team. How then can a national team draw with Japan and then not do well in the MSL?"

While the LionsXII were originally conceived as a developmental outfit, recent years have seen senior national team players make up the majority of their ranks.

Nine LionsXII players saw action in Singapore's laudable 0-0 draw away to Japan in June, while Stange has called up a total of 14 for the upcoming matches against Qatar and Syria.

It is a fact not lost on Stange, who admitted that he had made his feelings known to the players this week.

"When we gathered earlier this week for training, I had a briefing and I let the players know that it was not good enough," he said. "We must improve."

The Germans' sentiments mirror comments made by LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad in the wake of his team's season-ending 3-0 win over already-relegated Sime Darby.

"I’m a bit disappointed because we should’ve been there between the third to sixth positions,” he said. "Our away form cost us a lot and that’s football.

"Last season we won four times away from home, but this season we only won once. We were chasing and chasing but things happened along the way."

While Fandi has joined up with the national team as Stange's assistant for the time being, he will have one eye on the Malaysia Cup, which kicks off on September 11.

Despite not being seeded for the group stages, LionsXII have benefited from a favourable draw – they will face fourth-placed MSL side Terengganu FA as well as two Malaysian Premier League teams in Kedah FA and Johor Darul Ta'zim II.