BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Kuala Lumpur have no other options but to hit the ground running, in this season's opening stage. All of their first three Super League (MSL) matches this season will be against 2018 champions; Pahang (FA Cup), JDT (MSL) and Perak (Malaysia Cup), perhaps an uphill battle for the side that finished last year's league campaign just one spot above the relegation zone.
With less than a week to go before their campaign opener, head coach Yusri Che Lah is busy preparing his charges for their first two matches.
Speaking to the press following their 4-0 friendly match win against Singapore's Young Lions last Thursday, the former Malaysia international said that he's wary of the physical threats posed by the Elephants' forwards.
"Pahang are the better side in terms of ballplay, but what we need to specifically prepare on is to be wary of direct balls from their defence to the strikers.
"They now have their former striker (Dickson Nwakaeme) again, who can hold the ball up to give them two or three seconds, Sumareh [right winger Mohamadou Sumareh], and the Indonesian guy on the left (Sadil Ramdani).
"I need to make sure that my defence do not let the opponents approach our danger area too easily. I'm not too concerned on their set pieces, but we have to ensure that they are not too comfortable, that Sumareh is not given space to move around freely," said Yusri.
He too admitted that his charges may be playing JDT the following week using the same 4-4-2 formation.
"We are not a formidable side, I have to admit this," conceded Yusri.
"The strategy that I plan to use against Pahang, if it works, I may keep for the encounter against JDT. They will be playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation, and I need to respond to this appropriately."
However, the former Perlis and Kelantan boss is happy with the improving attacking partnership between Brazilian star striker Guilherme de Paula and new signing Sylvano Comvalius.
"When I play the two of them together, Sylvano has a lot more freedom and he is a lot more mobile. Whereas previously when it was only one striker, it was hard for crosses sent into the box to find an attacker.
"Tonight, with two strikers playing, our crosses and movements into the opponents' danger area were more dangerous. But more importantly, we kept a clean sheet and gave ourselves a morale boost for the Pahang clash with the win," he remarked.
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