Following Malaysia’s 1-1 friendly draw with Bangladesh, national coach Datuk K.Rajagopal admitted that his team was below par and need to improve their form before the AFF Suzuki Cup kicks-off this weekend.
Rajagopal, who was late for the post-match press conference after a longer than normal closed door meeting with his players in the dressing room, said: “It was definitely a disappointing game – I was surprised the players looked tired. I would have changed more players if I had the chance.”
The former international was particularly unimpressed with Malaysia’s second half showing and said his decision to substitute key players Safee Sali, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Safiq Rahim and S.Kunanlan during the interval did not have the desired effect on the team.
“The second half was disappointing as we didn’t show any urgency, our players looked really sluggish. Today when I took out the four core players the energy was gone.”
After defending his players in the last couple of games, the coach offered no excuses this time around.
“We can give no more excuses but it’s (the game) behind us now. We just have to keep on motivating the players at this crucial time - with only four more days to go. As hosts we have to stay positive.”
Bangladesh boss Saiful Bari Titu meanwhile, was left happy with his team’s result in Bukit Jalil.
“I’m very happy with our performance today because we lost 5-0 to Thailand. I’m also surprised with the result because in this sub-continent pressure from the media intimidate rather than inspire you,” he said.
“The equalising goal gave us the momentum to look for another goal and the crowd was excellent.”
When asked about Malaysia’s performance, the former player had this to say: “I don’t like to compare teams but I think Malaysia sat back when they should have attacked to kill the game off.”