Ong Kim Swee's men suffered a frustrating defeat against Great Britain yesterday, conceding two goals and leaving their quarter final hopes in jeopardy. Worse still, they even got a man sent off as well, with Wan Zaharulnizam being given an early bath in the second half.
"We did not play well at all. It was definitely below-par," Harimau Muda's goalkeeping coach Kris Yong told Goal Malaysia exclusively.
"We looked jaded and lacked sharpness upfront. We just couldn't move the gears properly and I'd say the Brits exploited us well enough.
However, Kris insisted that it wasn't entirely the players fault, considering that they had given their all against Italy just two days back.
"We were playing against a physically superior opponent, therefore our only weapon against them would be speed.
"Having said that, we were the only team in the Group that played 2 games in three days, so that definitely took its toll on us.
The Harimau Muda squad arrived in Kazan with only 17 players and two suffered injuries, while another two got sent off against Italy. Now, Wan Zaharulnizam's sending off has added more pressure to the already-thin Harimau Muda squad - something that Kris isn't satisfied about.
"We lacked composure in dealing with tough situations. We knew that the referees would side the superior nations most of the time, but our players got frustrated when they were on the receiving end.
"But we need to stay calm and deal with it smartly. And we can't be tolerating players who get red cards, leaving the team to suffer.
"This is something that we will need to eliminate before our next assignment."
Harimau Muda's chances of making it to the quarter final now depends on the clash between Italy and Great Britain. If the Italians fail to defeat Britain by a score line of 3-0 or more, then Harimau Muda will make it to the quarter finals.
"The team was on a high when we defeated Italy. No one gave us any chance but we pulled it off.
"But i'm sure the players know that they let themselves down for not digging deeper against the Brits. But we will patiently wait to see if we make it to the quarters.
"The players also know that they will be required to pick themselves up in the next game, if we do make it.