Malaysia head coach Datuk K. Rajagopal believes that his men can be proud of their performance in the 1-1 draw against Thailand earlier today. The Thais are strong favourites to win the AFF Suzuki Cup title this year and despite being rated as underdogs, Rajagopal claimed that his men did well and actually deserved to win at the Bukit Jalil Stadium.
"Tonight's match is one of the best matches the boys have played under me," he enthused to reporters after the match.
"If you watched the game, we deserved to win at least 3-1. I couldn't have asked more of the boys. We surprised them as I think they didn't expect us to play like we did. We had more penetration in the final third than them."
He also had special praises for forward Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, who scored their only goal and was a constant thorn to the Thai defence.
"Mat Yo was fantastic today. I thought he was better than Teerasil. Also, our midfield played extremely well to shut down their players. I'm proud of my boys," he added.
Meanwhile, Winfried Schaefer was satisfied with the result, claiming that his players did not do enough to warrant a victory.
"We didn't play too well as we lost lots of the second balls and found it difficult to handle almost all of Malaysia's long punts forward," he claimed.
"That been said, it's a good result for us to take back home."
The match wasn't short of controversy as Winfried Schaefer was sent to the stands for protesting several decisions during the second half. As a result, he will not be able to sit on the bench when they take on Malaysia in the return leg next week, something that left the German coach annoyed.
"I said before the match that we needed a good referee for this game. It wasn't easy for him to officiate this game in front of 80,000 noisy fans. Let's just not talk about the referee.
"I can't sit on the bench in Bangkok so I'll just come give instructions and go back home.What else can I do?"