Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
DPMM FC are looking to bounce back from their opening defeat in the S.League when they take on defending champions Albirex Niigata FC (S) tonight at the Jurong East Stadium in Singapore.
The Brunei side kicked off their campaign with a 3-1 loss against Home United FC on Friday at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
DPMM FC coach Steve Kean wasted no time and got his charges back on the training ground the next day to prepare for the fixture.
“We went back to training straight and had no days off. We had a good amount of time on the training ground. The game came around quick so there was no opportunity to rest,” said Kean in an interview with BruSports yesterday.
“For me, statistically we had a good game (against Home United) but got a bad result. We will continue to work through it.
“We had an excellent second half and probably should have got something out of the game,” he added.
“Looking at the schedule we knew the first two games are tough. Home United have had competitive matches and were at full speed.
“Albirex are confident after their opening win against Tampines (Rovers FC). Nothing is like winning the first game of the season but we must bounce back,” continued the Scotsman.
The White Swans pulled off an unprecedented sweep of all trophies - Community Shield, League Cup, S.League and Singapore Cup - last season but they have only kept seven of those players for this season.
The 2016 S.League Player of the Year Atsushi Kawata has moved on to the parent team in Japan. In addition, there is also a new manager with Kazuaki Yoshinaga taking over from Naoki Naruo.
However, they have started out their season strongly with two wins out of two and their latest was a 5-0 demolition of the Garena Young Lions (Singapore national under-22 football team) on Saturday.
“The question was whether they have the personnel to replace the ones who left and it looks like the answer is yes,” said Kean.
“They keep a lot of ball possession and create openings. What we have to do is to deny them space in the final third.
“We will have to stay close and put pressure on the ball. If we are too open then they can cut us open,” added the former Blackburn Rovers manager.
DPMM FC will be without French defender Francois Marque, who picked up an injury just before the half hour mark into his debut, for the encounter.
Ak Yura Indera Putera Pg Yunos will come on in the centre-back position to partner Reduan Hj Petara.
Kean believes that there will be no problems despite having to field an all local backline.
“Yura came on and was excellent. It is not like we brought a new player in. Panjang (Reduan) was excellent and there are no concerns," said Kean.
“As far as communication, there are no grey areas. They can communicate with each other easily.
“We had a lot of training. This will be a test and we are looking forward to it,” he concluded.