Sundram: 'We don't have Messi so we must stay focused for Asian Cup'

Singapore head coach V. Sundramoorthy is heartened by the good form of his attacking players ahead of three June internationals in a week.

Faris Ramli (seven goals) Khairul Amri (four) and Khairul Nizam (four) and Shahril Ishak (four) have all pleased Sundram by scoring in the S.League in recent matches.

Singapore will play Myanmar in a friendly on June 6 before facing Chinese Taipei in their second AFC Asian Cup qualifier on June 10, both at Jalan Besar Stadium. Three days later, they will host mighty Argentina, including Lionel Messi, at the National Stadium.

Sundram lamented Singapore's lack of a superstar like Barcelona's Messi as they looked to improve a return that has produced only six goals in their last 13 internationals.

"We don't have a Lionel Messi who can single-handedly win games, so we need to stay focused, know one another's roles and work as a unit to get the all-important three points," Sundram told The New Paper.

"[But] it's good that Faris has been playing well, and Amri and Nizam are scoring goals in the league. I hope they can translate this form onto the international stage."

After a determined 0-0 draw away to Bahrain in their opening qualifier on March 28, Singapore will find themselves in a strong position in Group E if they can beat the Taiwanese.

"[The Bahrain result] brings belief that we can play a good game and get a positive result against a stronger team. It's a great boost," Sundram said.

But the former winger warned against under-estimating the visitors, who tasted defeat in their opening qualifier at the hands of Turkmenistan.

"We cannot take them lightly. They held Vietnam to a 1-1 draw before losing 3-1 to Turkmenistan in March," Sundram said.

"They are a well-organised side with good individuals who can turn games around, but getting the three points against them at home will be key to putting us in a good position to qualify."

Sundram has called up an extended 28-man squad, with a focus on working on set pieces.

The June 6 friendly against Myanmar will be played behind closed doors at Jalan Besar Stadium.