Vallee lauds successive cup finals for Tanjong Pagar

The Jaguars coach was a proud man after his side overcame Hougang United on penalties in the Starhub League Cup semi-finals on Monday night.

After a hard-fought battle at Queenstown Stadium which went into extra time, it was home side Tanjong Pagar United which emerged 4-2 victors in the dreaded penalty shootout against fancied Hougang to book a spot in the League Cup final.

 The manner of the victory mattered little to Tanjong Pagar coach Patrick Vallee as he talked up his team’s feat in reaching two successive cup finals.

“This is very good for Tanjong Pagar," he said at the post-match press conference.

"Two years two finals, what more can I ask for?”

After playing out 120 minutes against Warriors FC in the quarter-finals last Friday, Vallee revealed that it was his game plan to approach this game in a cautious manner – something which eventually paid dividends. 

“Of course we wanted to win this game in 90 minutes,” French coach explained.

“If one team has scored very early, maybe it would have been a different game.

"We had a plan to play against Hougang because we had one less day to rest and recover.

"We needed to take our time to handle the pace and rhythm of the game.

“We did very well for that and I was happy to keep the score (goalless) for a long time – that’s our plan.”

Eventually Vallee had his goalkeeper Aurelien Herisson to thank as the 24-year-old came out trumps in the penalty shootout by pulling off two superb saves against Fazli Jaafar and Fairoz Hasan.

“I need to congratulate my keeper because today he showed everyone that he is one of the best keepers in Singapore,” the coach remarked.

“Even what happened during the season, he is young and still one of the best. He did his job and helped the team to win tonight.”

Visibly pleased with his team’s fitness after seeing them cope with two extra-time affairs in four days, Tanjong Pagar's coach is now keeping his fingers crossed ahead of the final on Friday. 

“The players fought for 120 minutes (again) and it’s about the recovery now,” said the 52-year-old.

“It’s (also) about how to prepare; just like tonight (Ahmad) Latiff could not play and we will handle (that).

"We have three days to prepare and we’ll try to give a good fight to DPMM. I hope we get one title for Tanjong Pagar this year.

"We go into all the competitions we play with motivation and try to win. Even if we can’t, this is already a very good result for us.”

Image Credit: Alson Ong/Football Association of Singapore