S.League: Substance over style

When Balestier Khalsa coach Marko Kraljevic took charge of his first Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League game against the Courts Young Lions on Sunday night, style was not be on his mind.

The former Tigers midfielder wants his men to focus on getting their season off on a winning note, as they chase a first S.League title.

"The first game of the season is always important for morale," Kraljevic told The New Paper last Saturday.

"For me, starting the season with three points is crucial because it gets everybody believing.

"We can play better with every game, but we have to pick up a win because that's what counts at the end of the year."

The Courts Young Lions finished bottom last season, but Kraljevic is wary of Aide Iskandar's side.

The Croat has not been able to gather much information about his opponents as they have been on a month-long preseason training stint in Turkey.

Despite their lowly finish last year, the Young Lions ended the season strongly with three successive wins.

"I don't know much about them but they played very well towards the end of last season and even when they lost, the losses were narrow," said Kraljevic.

"They know each other better now and on top of that, we're not used to the artificial pitch at Jalan Besar."

Balestier have already stated their ambition this season is to win the S.League title.

They have invested in a marquee player, Goran Ljubojevic, a striker who they believe will play a key role in their quest.

When asked if Ljubojevic could have the same impact as Tampines' Miljan Mrdakovic, who scored the winner in the Charity Shield clash against Home United on Friday, Kraljevic said: "He can. I really hope he can do it.

"He needs supply, so if we can supply the ball to him, he can do the job for us."

gregloo@sph.com.sg


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