BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Despite having recorded the first win in Malaysia U22's series of friendlies in China, the Young Tigers head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee has cautioned against getting carried away with the result.
On Thursday, Malaysia U22 beat Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande's reserve team 3-0, with Kim Swee having said a day earlier that a number of the Chinese side's main team players would feature in the match. Malaysia U22's goals in the match were scored by Jafri Chew (33'), Syafiq Ahmad (77') and Thanabalan Nadarajah(89').
"The win is not a major victory, we are still in the process of building the team.
"We need to maintain our performance and improve before we take on Melaka United on June 22," he cautioned after the win.
Furthermore, Kim Swee said that Evergrande are not the strongest of the three opponents that they have faced in their China trip.
"The strongest oppositions we have faced were China U22, but the two other teams we faced were also good sides.
"Guangzhou R&F and Guangzhou Evergrande were solid teams, they put up a good fight especially in terms of their physique," said the former Malaysia senior team boss.
However he was particularly happy with his charges' performance, and that his objectives for the trip have been met.
"Our objectives in China have been met, which were to have all the squad members take to the pitch. And against Guangzhou Evergrande I fielded my best eleven except for those who had picked up knocks such as Kumaahran (Sathasivam) and Syahmi (Safari).
"But the players fielded proved that they can perform well, they did not concede and improved in the second half. Their movements in front of the goal were particularly effective," Kim Swee pointed out.
Having concluded the China trip, the 2011 SEA Games gold medal-winning coach said that he has identified the squad's core players, but more preparation is needed before the 2018 U23 AFC Championship qualifiers next month in Bangkok.
"I can safely say that I've identified the core players, but we have around a month before the AFC qualifiers.
"We'll continue with the centralised training in Kuala Lumpur, the Melaka friendly, and then call up the players again in early July," he explained.
Kim Swee's boys had earlier lost 1-0 against China U22, and drew 2-2 against Guangzhou R&F.