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Longhi praises JDT's winning mentality

05:05 BST 11/07/2018
Raul Longhi, Johor Darul Ta'zim
Raul Longhi couldn't hide his delight in the way his team showed great desire to bounce back from a goal behind to secure the 2018 Super League title.

What Johor Darul Ta'zim did at Perak Stadium on Tuesday night was the mark of champions. It showed their mental fortitude at the ground of their closest rival for the Super League title to be able to turn the tie on its head with less than 20 minutes left on the clock.

Many teams would have had their heads dropped or resigned to the fact that Perak, who were well on top of the game up to the moment Norhakim Hassan put them aside, and perhaps looks to seal to the title back home in easier fixtures.

But that would not be the case for JDT as they step up their momentum, sparked by the introduction of Safawi Rasid and led by the inspirational leadership qualities of Hariss Harun, wrested control of the match back in favour of them.

Both players got on the scoresheet to give Longhi a 1-2 win on match day 18 which sealed their retention of the Super League crown for the fifth successive season. The Argentine was left feeling very proud of the manner of the win after the match.

"I would like to take this opportunity to dedicate the historic success of winning the Malaysian Super League title for the fifth consecutive time to our Boss, HRH Crown Prince of Johor, as well as all Johor Darul Ta'zim fans."

"The match was indeed a very difficult match. Perak are a great team. In the first half, we had 3-4 chances to score goals, but luck was not on our side. However, the players played well in the second half and they scored two goals. I am very happy with all my players.

"For me, the important thing was the players who were in action showed the same mentality of wanting the victory. We are not just a team but we are also a big family, sharing the same philosophy which is to win as many matches as possible," said Longhi in the post-match press conference.

Longhi who had to endure a fair bit of dissatisfaction from the fans after their meek exits in the AFC Cup as well as the FA Cup, proved to be unstoppable when it comes to the league. He joins Ulisses Morais, Bojan Hodak and Mario Gomez in the list of coaches to have guided JDT to the title.

The former Atletico Madrid man does not shy away from the tough decisions and have shown a penchant for using youngsters, none more so with his selection of Syamer Kutty Abba in the starting line-up for the past couple of matches.

It's not only the faith he has in the younger players but as well, the bravery of the decision to keep more experienced players likes Safiq Rahim and Ignacio 'Natxo' Insa on the bench for Syamer to get his opportunities.

"I myself have worked for three years at JDT. When Ulisses Morais made his decision to return to Portugal, HRH Crown Prince of Johor contacted me and said I would be the coach for the team. I accepted it and said okay. Then I worked every day and for every match."

"I always give my support to young players as well as all players because I believe in them. What's important is that they show improvement in their game and give the best football performances. I have high confidence in the young players at JDT. They are players for the future for JDT because they have the best mentality," added Longhi.