Insa calls for bigger role for senior players ahead of Hong Kong clash

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Kiko Insa is adamant that Malaysia is improving and will not let recent results bog them down.

On Tuesday when Malaysia take on Hong Kong in the Asian Cup qualifier in Melaka, Francisco Insa Bohigues is in line to make his first competitive start for Malaysia since enabling himself to be available for selection.

The Pahang midfielder looked to be an integral part of Nelo Vingada's team as the Portuguese look set to give the man known as 'Kiko' his first competitive outing. In the two friendly matches that has been played in this latest national training camp, Insa has started both of those matches against Syria and Myanmar.

Deployed in the shielding role in front of the defence, Insa has been seen to be using his physicality to good effect, to help provide another line of barrier to the defence, particularly in the match against Syria.

The 29-year-old is experienced enough having plied his trade in Spain, Iceland, Latvia, England and Indonesia before making the switch to Pahang at the start of the 2017 season. While the results haven't been encouraging in those two friendly matches, Insa remains confident it will be a different case against Hong Kong.

"In my opinion, no [results haven't affected morale]. In the two games, the results weren't positive. But you can see in the games, we do what is asked from us by the coach but unfortunately in the last moments of those matches, we conceded goals."

"Results apart, I think the team is doing well and improving. We are definitely not pressing the panic button yet. We face the next game with full confidence.

"Concentration wise we need it to be for the full 90 minutes. But this is not the work of the coach, it's down to the players. Our mentality must be strong and responsible, with the senior players helping out the team," said Insa to Goal before Sunday's training session at Hang Jebat Stadium.

With the starting line-up against Hong Kong expected to be comprising of only two players under the age of 25, there are plenty of experience on the pitch, the experience that Insa wants to ensure that Malaysia does not slip up again late on.

It will be interesting to see how much Insa's partnership with Amirulhadi Zainal in the centre of midfield has grown since they started being paired together in the match against Syria. They will have to work in tandem to ensure enough protection is provided to the backline as Malaysia look to gain their first three points in the third round of the Asian Cup qualifiers.

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