BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Following Melaka United's 1-1 draw against Pulau Pinang in their Super League match on Wednesday, the Mousedeers' boss Eric Williams praised their opponents for nicking a point against his men, and even said that the Panthers should have come away with the three points.
In the match played at the Pulau Pinang State Stadium, the visitors struck first as early as the fifth minute through Ahmad Khuzaimi Piee, his second goal in as many games. But Reinaldo Lobo scored the equaliser two minutes from time, to give the bottom-placed side their first point this season.
"I thought we played much better in the first half, in the second half we knew what Pulau Pinang were going to do. They have to attack us so we were going to get one or two opportunities to counter attack.
"But the quality of our passes in the counter attacks was poor... They (Pulau Pinang) made it very difficult for us, because the ball kept coming back.
"...Credit to Pulau Pinang, they fought very hard, (and) we couldn't maintain our defensive quality, and eventually they scored," praised the Australian in the post-match press conference.
He too thinks that the Panthers will improve over time.
"I knew it was going to be difficult. Every game Pulau Pinang keep playing, obviously they are going to get stronger.
"...To be honest, they should've won the game. They had chances to finish us (off), because we did not put our second goal in and they just kept pushing," he continued.
When asked by the press regarding the condition of star striker Ilija Spasojevic, Williams said that the Macedonian is expected to be sidelined for a number of weeks.
The 2016 Premier League had been sidelined in their previous match, a 3-1 defeat against Pahang, but was deemed fit enough to start against Pulau Pinang. However he had to be taken off early in the match for getting hurt again.
"He suffered the same injury which forced him to sit out against Pahang. I had said to him; 'have a rest for this match' and we have another important match coming up.
"But he wanted to play and now he's down again. So I would say he won't be ready for a few weeks. It's very disappointing when you lose your main striker in the first 10 minutes," lamented Williams.
Eric Williams. Photo by Nizam Hakim/CSN
However he is confident that the players available will be up to the task in their next match, a league encounter against second-placed Kedah this Saturday.
"Fauzi Roslan did okay, we still have Aguero (forward Sergio Aguero), he was obviously tired because he had not played for many weeks so hopefully he can recover.
"Jeon Woo (midfielder Jeon Woo Young) will come back in. I rested him tonight (although) he could have played. I decided to leave him out because I did not want to do any more damage to his injury.
"So we just have to make sure that we can recover quickly, and obviously face a strong team at Kedah's home ground," he explained.