Weaver wants more from team after Charity Shield triumph

Warriors FC coach Alex Weaver believes there's still more to come from his side after eking out a narrow victory over Balestier Khalsa in the season opener last night.

Hotshot Nicolas Velez’s 28th minute goal settled the tense affair between both sides and Weaver admitted that his team did just enough to clinch the Charity Shield.

“There’ll always elements of the performance which I can break down and critique – that’s the whole purpose of what a coach does,” he said during the post-match press conference.

“We’re exactly at the same status as last year where our results in pre-season weren’t that great. When we played Geylang (in last year’s opener), we did not play as well as but did enough to win. That’s what it counts at this level.”

With the Tigers proving hard to break down, Weaver made a tactical switch midway through the first half to pair Velez and Miroslav Pejic upfront – something which eventually proved pivotal in the team breakthrough shortly after.

“Credit goes to Balestier because we changed our system to match theirs,” he said.

“They had a diamond in midfield where the extra body in midfield made the difference when we lost possession.

 “We saw it early and changed it which seemed to work thereafter. It was exciting to see the two of them (Velez and Pejic) back together in a competitive game.”

Meanwhile, a key plus point for the reigning league champions last night was that they achieved their first clean sheet in four competitive matches played thus far this season.

“It’s definitely a confidence booster for me, Neezam (Aziz) and the back four,” Weaver said.

“We conceded sloppy goals recently thus a clean sheet is certainly very pleasing. Even the Pep Guardiolas in this world, who loves their attacking football, keep clean sheets.

“Vido (Marin Vidosevic) did very well tonight except for a situation where he allowed (Miroslav) Kristic to come in, he and (Daniel) Bennett was good at the back as they normally are, Irwan Shah was good in his left back position while Syaqir (Sulaiman) did well to come in and get used to the players.”

For now, Weaver will hope that the players recover fast from their fatigue, which caused them to play at a slower tempo as last night’s game wore on.

The Warriors have a busy schedule ahead to contend with, playing Harimau Muda in Malacca on Thursday before setting off for Maldives where they take on Maziya S&RC in the AFC Cup next Tuesday.

“Because of the stage of the season which we’re at right now and the games which we’ve played so far, you do expect an element of fatigue to be evident in our performances,” Weaver admitted.

“That’s why I made the changes to bring off Fazli (Jaafar), Hafiz (Rahim) and Syaqir to freshen things up, while keeping one eye on the next two games.”

Photos: Weixiang Lim