Malaysia not playing more defensively against Myanmar - Matthew Davies

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Matthew Davies, Safawi Rasid, Malaysia U22, SEA Games, 14082017
Hosts Malaysia will go on the attack against Group A leaders Myanmar in their match on Monday, says right back Matthew Davies.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Although Myanmar, Malaysia's opponents in their crunch SEA Games Group A tie on Monday, have been scoring freely in their past three matches, Young Tigers right back Matthew Davies has said that his team will not play more defensively.

Although Davies plays as a defender, he has been involved in two of Malaysia's goals in the tournament so far. His assist led to Malaysia's first goal in their 2-1 campaign opener win against Brunei, and his low cross from the right ended in Thanabalan Nadarajah's winning goal in their 2-1 win over Singapore on Wednesday.

Although Myanmar have scored 11 goals in their three group matches, and winning all three of them, the Pahang captain told Goal just before Malaysia's training session on Sunday that they will not sacrifice attacking in order to concentrate more on defending.

"At times we have to be a bit more disciplined especially when we turn the ball over, how we react and how quickly we get back into shape.

"But I think our style of play, movement and the way we go forward should be the same," responded the 22-year old.

In fact Davies, who has been one of the key members in Malaysia's campaign so far, said that fans can expect more from him in the tournament.

"I've been given a lot more freedom to go forward in this position. And when we turn the ball over I have cover behind me, which is something I appreciate.

"So for me in the right flank, the fans and coaches can expect me to push forward more," said the former Perth Glory man.

He however conceded that the difficulty that Malaysia have been facing in getting into their groove from the starting whistle is something that the hosts need to work on against Myanmar.

"We haven't shown up for the full 90 minutes yet. We've been quite good in patches but there have also been moments when we played poorly and conceded sloppy goals.

"I think it's a lot to work on and improve. If we can perform the way we know we can perform for the full 90 minutes, I think we'll be a difficult team to beat," he explained.

Myanmar are top of the group with nine points after three matches with one match remaining, while Malaysia are currently second on six points after two matches, with two group matches remaining.

A win will present the hosts with a great chance of qualifying from the group stage as group winners, while a draw or a defeat almost means they can only qualify to the semi-finals as group runners up.

The match will be held at the Shah Alam Stadium on Monday, with kick-off time at 8.45 pm.