He's one of Singapore's best home-grown coaches, but Philippe Aw is concerned about the recent form of Hougang United, who've endured a four-game winless streak in the S.League.
The Cheetahs took an early lead against Tampines Rovers on Saturday night through Fareez Farhan, only to concede five unanswered goals to lose 5-1 at Our Tampines Hub.
After impressing against Albirex Niigata (S) in July -- they won 2-1 in the league and drew 0-0 in the Singapore League Cup -- Hougang have lost three and drawn one of their last four S.League matches.
Against the Stags, they suffered a sucker punch when they conceded a goal to Irwan Shah in first-half injury time to make it 2-1, and then made more lapses in the second half to allow the home side to register a flattering scoreline.
"Overall, we were defensively poor, and for a team like us to concede five goals [against Tampines], it was really very poor. We weren't in synch," Aw said.
"We laid it on a platter for them. With not much time left in the half, we should have been clever enough to know to tuck in, go long and lose the ball up top. Ball goes out finish, we go into half-time 1-1. It would have been better for us."
The defeat was Hougang's eighth in 16 matches to leave them in sixth position, seven points behind Geylang International, but with a game in hand.
On their day, the Cheetahs are capable of beating anyone, but are frustratingly inconsistent.
"We started well [against Tampines, but then] we conceded five goals. They were all soft goals," Aw said.
Despite the setback, Hougang are hopeful of continuing their good run in the Singapore Cup, having made the last four with impressive victories over Ceres-Negros, of Philippines, and Cambodia's Nagaworld.
They will face another Filipino side in Global-Cebu in the two-legged semifinals on Sept. 27 and 30.
The Cheetahs are next in S.League action on Sept. 19, away to Brunei DPMM.