ATM coach B. Sathianathan hailed ATM's win over Kelantan in the Charity Shield match, claiming that it is a good win for the morale of the team, but believes his team needs to improve if they want to achieve success in the Super League.
He praised his boys for playing well in the first half, but admitted that they missed Amiridzwan Taj's presence in the second half. "First half I think we played well, but in the second half, when we had to bring out Taj, we had a bit of a problem because Shukor is always playing as a midfielder and the new partnership at the centre of defence was the first time we used tonight. But overall, It was a good win for morale, but we need to improve our performances if we are to be consistent in the Super League."
According to Sathia, Taj sustained an ankle injury when he was tackled by Keita Medjou. He also lost Fainizam early in the game after failing to shrug off muscle cramp. Despite that early setback, ATM players never gave up and that pleased Sathia.
When asked about whether it was a good kick off for ATM for this season, he said "It was a good start, but we need to be consistent with our performances because it is too early to predict for the rest of the season."
He also hopes that his players get enough rest and back to top fitness to play their first game against Lions XII in the Super League. "I hope we could get enough rest before we start our campaign in the Super League against Lions XII and I also hope Marlon can get back to 100% for the game. Right now we already lost one player from total number of players that we registered to FAM through injury. If we lose one more player we will only have 23 players and it will be very difficult to play in the Super League with only 23 players."
Speaking at the press conference after the game, he was not happy with the fact that Lions XII coach was at the stadium observing his team. "I think they should not allow him there because it was an advantage for them to see us play. Anyhow, it is very difficult to play because I think their morale is very high because they just won the Suzuki Cup."
"I expect a very tough game and my focus is to get my players who are injured to recover for the game, as they have an advantage because they have more time to prepare. Anyway I hope today's win will give a morale boost for my players, as for a new-look team to become a champion, I hope they will take it as a challenge to go even further."
When asked about their target this season, B.Sathianathan hopes they can win either the Super League or the FA Cup. "If we win the league or the FA Cup, it will gives us a chance to play at Asia level in AFC league. For me, for ATM, one of the cups will be our realistic target for next season."