Following DPMM FC's 1-0 away defeat to the Warriors on Thursday, head coach Steve Kean (pic R) conceded that the home-side were simply the better team, especially in the first half.
"I think Warriors played better than us in the first half. What we failed to do was to go back when we had possession," said Kean on the S-League website. "For some reason we were a little bit tentative of our full-backs to go forward. We thought Warriors would leave the front two up and try to play to the front but they didn't," added the Scotsman.
"We were a little slow in pushing forward and as a result of that, we were a bit late in midfield whenever there was a changeover and I think they won a lot of second balls and most of their attacks sprung from that," he continued.
Thursday's encounter was also the first match this season that DPMM FC had failed to find the back of the net, having already scored 33 in the campaign. The defeat snapped DPMM FC's seven-game winning streak, and saw the team's lead at the top of the Singapore League (S-League) being reduced to four points.
DPMM FC remained top of the league on 31 points from 13 games, while the Warriors are now on 27 points. S-League topscorer Rodrigo Tosi, who has 12 to his name so far, had a more withdrawn role in the matchup based on the tactics of Kean.
"We felt that the deep-lying midfield player of Warrriors deserved enough respect that he started the game well that we couldn't just leave him on his own," explained Kean.
"So I felt that Rodrigo when we had the ball play off him would give us an outlet and then when they had the ball we made sure they don't start the game, so I think he's done the defensive side okay," added the former Blackburn Rovers manager.
On other hand, his counterpart Alex Weaver applauded his side for a good showing against the league leaders. "I thought we were superb today (Thursday night), our midfield was fantastic," said Weaver.
"We shut them down all over the field right from the start and we controlled large parts of the game. We kept our discipline and our focus," he added. With the lead at the top being trimmed to only four points, Weaver insisted that there is still a long way to go in the title race.
"We are only four points away now and there's a good chance we would play Tampines (Rovers) again in the half round so there are points to be won there," said Weaver. "We just have to focus on ourselves really, we got a tough cup game coming up and we've got a tricky tie away to Harimau Muda followed by Hougang United quite close after that," he added.
"...it's not a matter of hoping Brunei slip up, we've got to look after ourselves first," concluded the Warriors head coach. Brunei's only professional team will now take a break from the S-League with their next game coming on June 6 against Home United at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
DPMM FC will open their Singapore Cup campaign against Philippine side Global FC at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore next Saturday. Meanwhile, three-time defending champions Tampines are back to third after edging the Young Lions (Singapore Under-23 football team) 2-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore last night.
A Kazuki Sakamoto hat-trick paced Albirex Niigata (S) to a 4-1 comeback win over Harimau Muda (Malaysia Under-21) at the Pasir Gudang Stadium in Johor. The Stags are now on 25 points followed by Home United and Albirex on 24 and 23 points respectively.