Malaysia were expected to solidify their defending champion status against Singapore but a rather disappointing performance brought about an embarrassing 0-3 defeat at the hands of their causeway rivals Singapore. It prompted massive outcries from the Malaysian public but Peter Butler believes that there wasn't much difference between both sides yesterday.
"Singapore were just more clinical than Malaysia," he suggested exclusively to Goal.com Malaysia.
"I don't think Malaysia were as bad as what people suggest. It's just that Singapore were far more clinical in their performance upfront.
"Malaysia had decent amount of possession but lacked penetration in the final third. No cohesiveness in the middle of the park as well.
"People are suggesting that the Malaysian league experience helped the Singaporeans, but I don't think that’s the case as well."
The pressure on K. Rajagopal is immense now and his selection policy is under scrutiny again, with it being labeled as a scapegoat for Malaysia's dismal showing yesterday. The exclusion of players like Badri Radzi is definitely puzzling, but the T-Team gaffer has a different opinion all together.
"In my personal view, I think Rajagopal has tested way too many players in the friendlies. He should have tested a few times, and then stuck with a solid group. It would have created the understanding that was completely missing in their last few games."
The defeat left Malaysia rooting in the bottom of Group B, and they now require maximum points from their remaining two games against Laos and Indonesia to have any chance of qualifying for the semi finals.
Everyone in the nation is cautiously optimistic for that, with a match against Indonesia still in the beckoning. However, the former Persiba Balikpapan coach believes that Indonesia's issues will aid Malaysia's progress into the semis.
"Well I'm sure that the defeat was disappointing in every way for Malaysians. But they'll still make it to the semis with Singapore.
"Indonesia were shambles against Laos yesterday. They looked out of sorts and utterly inept. It's probably a reflection of everything going on with football in the country. There is lack of a proper system.
"This is why I still believe that Malaysia will beat Laos and Indonesia to join Singapore in the semi finals."