BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Selangor boss Satiananthan Bhaskaran has clarified that his charges' chances in this year's Malaysia Cup are a lot tougher than it may seem.
Speaking to Goal just before conducting training on Friday, the experienced trainer pointed out that many teams are gunning for silverware in this edition.
"I never said that it's 'Misi 34' for us (taking Selangor to their 34th Malaysia Cup title). I don't know how the media got this notion.
"This time around, JDT (2019 Super League champions) have issued a statement that they want to win it. League runners up Pahang also want to win it, as Dollah (head coach Dollah Salleh) wants the title after being knocked out of the FA Cup. Even Felda [United] too want to become champions, from what I've read! I only said Selangor will take one match at a time," he remarked.
The Red Giants begin their Group D campaign on Saturday, at home to Satiananthan's former club Felda. The two sides have met three times this season, with Selangor winning once, Felda once, and the remaining encounter ending in a draw.
"We have to be careful against Felda. Yes they finished the league in 10th place, but in their last few matches they were able to beat Kedah (recent FA Cup champions) 3-2 (second leg FA Cup semi-finals) and 5-1 (last league matchday). These wins mean they have a [good] team; I know this because I was there.
"And their players will prove themselves against the favourites, one reason being to attract offers from other clubs for the coming season. They're not sure whether Felda will still be around next year, so they will play well.
"What we need to be wary of is their counter attacks; Hadin (forward and skipper Hadin Azman) is very good in 1-v-1 situations," explained Satiananthan.
He however is confident that his charges can begin their campaign positively.
"My players now know each other better, their combination play is better and they are sharper. In the second league match against Felda this season, we completely dominated them and took our chances well."
The Red Giants are set to be without Faiz Nasir, who is still injured, in this match. Unfortunately, their long-term injury list now also includes midfielder Norhakim Isa, who is expected to be out for up to three months for an injury picked up in one of their final few league matches, on top of the already-injured Rufino Segovia and Wan Zack Haikal.
Follow Goal Malaysia's Instagram account to see photos and watch videos from Malaysian football!