"We must maintain our philosophy" - Tan demands consistency against mighty Thais

Zulhilmi Zainal
Malaysia must remain Malaysia, reminds head coach Tan Cheng Hoe ahead of their first-leg AFF Championship semi-final match against Thailand.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Despite the fact that they will be facing the more-fancied Thailand in the semi-finals of the 2018 AFF Championship, Malaysia head coach Tan Cheng Hoe wants his charges to stick to their normal way of playing.

On Saturday, the Harimau Malaya will be playing the defending champions in the first leg encounter, at home the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

Malaysia's possession game in the group stage in the tournament has been praised by many, and although against Vietnam at Hanoi they were defeated 2-0, they outclassed Myanmar 3-0 at Bukit Jalil to advance to the semis at the expense of the Asian Lions.

"Many have praised our gameplay in last week's win against Myanmar, but that's already in the past. We once again will be taking on the favourites; an experienced side.

"My men need to continue believing in our philosophy; our style of play, while being careful when defending. Thailand are good and they have scored 15 goals. My players need to be composed and patient, they need to keep playing our way, and not be too afraid of the opponents.

"In any parts of the world, teams cannot defend for the whole 90 minutes. You still need to attack, but they must be aware of the oppositions' attack. My defenders tomorrow need to be very focused in transitions," he remarked in the pre-match press conference on Friday.

He also revealed the opposition players who he thinks will provide the biggest threat against his side.

"Their number nine (Adisak Kraisorn) and twenty nine (Sanrawat Dechmitr) are definitely dangerous, but Thailand are a balanced side.

"Their captain (Chalermpong Kerdkaew) looks quite composed, has a good reading of the game and commands the defence well. Sanrawat has a killer passing skill, is mobile, and not easy to contain," he explained.

When asked about his scoreline target for Saturday's game, Tan answered that his aim is for the home team to avoid conceding.

"It's important that we don't concede tomorrow, but a positive result (win) is a good motivation for us ahead of the match in Bangkok (second leg)

"As long as we don't concede, I'll be very happy," he said.

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