BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
PKNS FC head coach Elavarasan Elangowan has blamed his side's lack of patience for their 3-2 defeat at home to Sarawak in their Super League match on Saturday.
"(We) started okay but we lost our grip when Sarawak scored their first goal, after that we were not as organised as we had been. Afterwards when we started playing more aggressively, we created chances but we failed to convert them.
"In the second half the game became more open and we did find an equaliser, but it was too open. Anything could have happened in the match really, five or six goals could have been scored.
"After we equalised, we looked for the winning goal and that opened up more gaps in defence.
"This is the problem we observed in the match. Even after drawing level we need to be patient when finding the winner or trying to extend the lead. This is one of the problems we are facing," said Elavarasan in the post-match press conference.
In the match that was held at the Shah Alam Stadium, the visitors opened the scoring through Mateo Roskam's 18th minute goal, but PKNS drew level through Lucas Espindola's goal in the 55th minute. However two quick goals by Mark Hartmann (60') and substitute Hafiz Abu Bakar (64') gave the Crocodiles all the three points, although Khairul Ramadhan Zauwawi managed to pull one back for the homeside in the dying minutes of the match.
Another aspect that concerns the 52-year old coach is the Red Ants' penchant for conceding soft goals.
"...in the past two games, we've been letting in very soft goals. Against T-Team we conceded soft goals, and today we let in easy goals. We practically gifted them.
"This is what we need to improve, to stop conceding soft goals, and our game will change. These are very costly mistakes in football.
"Strikers will miss ten chances, but if a defender makes one mistake, that cannot be fixed.
"We have to fix this, as we've let in too many goals in the past two matches. Three today and two goals in the previous match," lamented Elavarasan.
However he was pleased by the spirit shown by his attackers, who showed their combativeness against Sarawak.
"...on the attacking part I think they did not give up, they kept trying. Of course they did miss a number of chances, but what's important is they kept trying until the end.
"That's a very important attitude, which will better a team over time," he added.
He also hailed pre-season signing Safee Sali, who according to him motivates the team with his presence.
"Another ingredient that pushes the team to fight I would say is our national striker Safee (Sali), who also motivates the team.
"This is among the influences that motivate the team to go all out until the end and make them not give up," praised Elavarasan.
Safee Sali. Photo from PKNS FC Facebook
He also gave credit to Sarawak striker Mark Hartmann, and to his role in troubling the homeside's defence.
"In fact my players have been warned that he can take long-range shots, and that he's a good, technical player.
"But in the end we gave him too much space in the middle third to take shots and he took advantage of that," said the former Terengganu boss.
He also revealed that Palestine international Matias Jadue, who suffered an injury before the match, is expected to be sidelined for one week.
"I think he will be absent for the rest of the week. He experienced a tear two days back," said Elavarasan.
The 3-2 result meant PKNS dropped to seventh in the standings, while Sarawak remain in ninth place.