By Khalis Rifhan
Emotions were high for Johor Darul Takzim coach Fandi Ahmad during the post-match interview, after his charges secured their first three points of the season.
However, despite playing with a two men advantage, Johor could only secure a one-goal victory against Perak courtesy of Aidil Zafuan’s goal in the second half.
“We are happy to get the first three points at home. But I thought Perak came here with a mission and wanted to hold us to a draw.” said Fandi
“You can see how many they (Perak) had in the box, they were compact in defence. If you had watched LionsXII, they were very discipline in defence, the same as Perak today.”
But the win did not guarantee a smile on Fandi’s face as he let his feelings known. First in line were his own players, followed by the media who were given a ‘gentle’ reminder.
“I am not happy with the performance," he said bluntly.
"Of course we controlled the game, we had extra men. But we need to put in a lot of work and have our ego in check because football is a team game so we will have to defend better together.
“Even with the extra men, I think we looked a bit jittery at times, so there is a lot of work still to be done. The season is long and I can give some excuse saying some of the boys are new to our style of play but being a footballer, individually, you must be strong on technical and tactical ability."
Making allusions to the big-name signings in his team the former Singapore player said: “Expectations are very high but we don’t want the media to hype up all this. We are not star-studded, for me players are all the same. It is only their name, whether they play national or ‘National Panasonic’, he is just a football player.”
Silence finally fell in the media room as Fandi added: “Please do not put pressure on our players, I plead to you all. You are happy writing in the papers but it’s not good for us."
“That is why TMJ (Johor Crown Prince) said they (Johor players) cannot speak to the reporters. Let them settle down. Is it fair to them, to train one week and then expect them to score six goals? I don’t think so. They need some space.”
Johor Darul Takzim will next travel to Kota Bharu for a tricky away match against defending champions Kelantan FA on January 15.