Home United striker Stipe Plazibat says he enjoys working with coach Aidil Sharin and attributes his success to his improved fitness levels and familiar style of play at his new club.
Ahead of the 2017 season, there was considerable pressure on Plazibat to deliver as he had replaced Danish forward Ken Ilso, who left the Protectors after scoring 36 goals in two seasons, at the Bishan Stadium.
However, the 27-year-old Croatian, who established himself one of the most dangerous hitmen during his stint with Hougang United last year, has exceeded expectations, scoring 18 goals in 12 matches across all competitions so far.
Apart from 11 league goals from seven matches, Plazibat also played a key role in the Protectors' AFC Cup campaign, scoring four crucial goals to help the team progress to the zonal semi-final.
"Atmosphere in the dressing room is very good. [Sharin is a] good coach and good person, it is a pleasure to work with him. The team is very young, so all players are concentrating on football and not on other things or on each other, which is very good," Plazibat told International Business Times Singapore.
"I enjoy scoring, it does not matter against whom. It is very nice to see when all your hard work pays off, so the feeling is very nice. I am fitter this season, style of team is very suitable for me as well."
Plazibat has no hesitations when it comes to saying that his team can go all the way and win the league this year. The Protectors are are sitting on the second spot after seven games with 17 points, two less than leaders Albirex Niigata, against whom they played out 2-2 draw last month.
Coach Sharin has produced positive results with the team that has a good mix of youth and experience. The likes of Irfan Fandi, Adam Swandi and Faris Ramli have stepped up and shared the responsibility with the seniors in the team. Plazibat believes that Home have got the best lot of experienced players and urges the younger lot to learn from them.
"[I would want the younger players] to believe in their abilities, work hard, and watch and learn from older players, because this year they really have perfect examples of veteran players from whom they can learn a lot."
See: Four-goal Plazibat decimates Than Quang Ninh