Ulisses Morais takes over the reins for the first time when Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) welcomes the visit of Penang on Saturday as the Super League kicks back into action.
The resumption of the league comes after a month-long break to give way for the fasting month. In the month that went by, JDT has made the decision to send Benjamin Mora back to Johor Darul Ta'zim II and hired Morais as the new head coach and manager of JDT.
The decision for the change of coach came after the exit of JDT from the AFC Cup competition at the hands of Philippines' team Ceres-Negros FC in the ASEAN zone semi-final stage. Under Mora, JDT had resumed their position at the top of the Super League but had to watch Kedah take away two trophies that JDT won in 2016.
After a week's training and assimilating with the team, Morais will handle the team for the first competitive match against bottom-placed Penang side boosted by the presence of new-signing Natxo Insa. The former Levante midfielder is expected to be thrown straight into the mix against Penang where all eyes will be on the performance of a player who helped his former Segunda Division team into the Primera Division.
"We have done the best preparation possible and the players have tried to incorporate new ideas. They are quality and experienced players so the process has been easy."
"We have only trained for a week, which is too short and our physical condition is not at its optimal level. However, our minds are focused on winning and getting the three points," said Morais in a statement through the club channel.
One game will be too early to tell on Morais' impact on the team and his qualities but the style and game play will be an indication as to the type of coach he is. Change doesn't happen overnight and it'll take a few more games for him to integrate his methods and requirements on his new set of players.
Morais will have his hands full trying to figure out how to bring the best out of the league's top scorer in Mohammed Ghaddar by ensuring the creative likes of Safiq Rahim, Gonzalo Cabrera and Gabriel Guerra gel seamlessly in the same team.
Having struggled to get a permanent backline under Mora, due to injuries or otherwise - the onus is also for Morais to find a settled defensive structure as JDT look to retain the league title and perhaps due to a more relaxed schedule, a first Malaysia Cup triumph under the revamp club structure.