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Devan unhappy with strikers contribution, still fears the drop

10:58 GMT+3 07/07/2019
K. Devan, PJ City FC v Johor Darul Ta'zim, Malaysia Super League, 13 Apr 2019
The PJ City head coach is still cautious about his team's chances to stay in the Super League after crashing to a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Melaka.

Petaling Jaya City FC suffered their second straight defeat in the Super League following the defeat to Melaka on Saturday but will look back at the match as one where they should have gotten more from the match, given how they performed throughout the 90 minutes. 

K. Devan's side more than faced up to Melaka and gave the visitors as tough a fight as they could. If not for a lack of composure and concentration towards the tail-end of the first half, PJ City could have taken three points from the match instead of zero.

The experienced head coach was not too pleased to see the lapses in concentration in his charges but singled out the lack of contribution from Pedro Henrique and Washington Brandao in attack. PJ City held most of the ball possession but the two import strikers were having an off day and led to the lack of creditable attempts at Melaka's goal.

"We started well in the first half and the got the goal we wanted. After that my players were complacent and we failed to maintain our momentum. If we had defended better, we wouldn't have gone 1-2 down at half time. In the second half we controlled the game, but just could not find the goal. Based on the game, we should have at least got a point from this match.

"I'm really disappointed with the two strikers because they were not mobile, not effective and they should have done better in the second half. Normally if Safee plays, we change the formation and we'll have more in attack. Our strikers did not do a good job today, except for the first goal. They were not in the right place at the right time. The crosses were coming in but they were not in the box.

"We are now ninth and still not yet safe yet. There's still three matches left and we need to collect at least three points from there," said Devan in the post-match press conference.

While Devan is entitled to think that PJ City are not yet safe from relegation, in reality they are very unlikely to go down to the Premier League. With only three rounds of matches remaining, they are five points better than PKNP FC, six points better than Kuala Lumpur and eight points better than Felda United.

Felda do have two games in hand but it would take all three teams to gain maximum points in their respective final matches to have an impact on PJ City's top tier status. Mathematically not even PKNS FC is safe yet but perhaps Devan wants to keep his players on their toes in case of the unexpected.


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