Bangkok: Singapore head coach Fandi Ahmad believes his team have won back the support of the Lions fans despite exiting the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup after a 3-0 defeat to Thailand on Sunday.

Singapore lost two early goals to leave them with an impossible task in a match they had to win. But Fandi saw plenty to encourage him in this game and over the whole competition.

“In this tournament, even though it was a short period for us, I think we have gained some confidence from the fans to get back support for the team,” said Fandi. “Every team needs support and the last few years have been very bad for us. Every ASEAN team has gone past us but we are trying to rebuild this team.”

Fandi felt that his side showed bravery to try and take the game to Thailand even though it meant that the defence was left more exposed. 

“We tried to get a goal and we opened up at the back but I am very proud because they are trying to win games and not sitting back,” said Fandi. “We tried to go up against the best team in this competition.

“Hopefully, we can continue like this and I think we can still get more success out of this team. I think we have a long way to go and we have to bring in more youngsters as well as keeping some of the experienced players.”

Fandi had a message for the fans who made the trip from Singapore to back the team as the they attempted to cause a big upset at the home of the defending champions. 

“We tried to show them what we can do,” he said. “We thank them for coming such a long way and we want to get the support that we used to get a long time ago. The last few years have been a bit down for us and we didn’t get much support back home.” 

Depsite being without their biggest stars, Fandi would not be surprised to see the War Elephants lift a third straight title next month.

“I think they (Thailand) are one of the best alongside Vietnam,” said Fandi. “If they play like they did today, I think they will go to the final. It will be good to see whether they will make it with this team.

“Even though they do not have all of their best players, they are still very attack-minded and very fast. I am sure they will give everybody a run for their money.”