BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
In the match played at the Selayang Municipal Stadium, the Red Giants were held to a goalless draw in fulltime and extra-time by the current Premier League leaders, necessitating a penalty shootout. Although Selangor goalkeeper Khairul Azhan Khalid managed to save Negeri Sembilan's first penalty, Abdul Halim Zainal and Ugo Ukah then failed to convert the Red Giants' final two penalties.
Although he admitted that his side should have finished the game in fulltime instead of letting it continue to penalties, Maniam said that his men have given their very best in the match.
"All my players gave their 100% commitment throughout the 90 minutes, we had many chances, it was an open game.
"The only thing that we didn't do was score goals," said Maniam in the post-match press conference.
He too said that on top of his men's failure to score, the result happened because luck was on their opponents' side.
"With our performance today, we shouldn't have been dragged into the penalty shootout.
"And when it's penalty, it's (down to) luck, the team with luck will qualify. I think Negeri Sembilan had luck, so they went through," explained the former Selangor player.
He however has chosen to play the motivator to his men, refusing to blame any of them for the defeat.
When asked whether he was disappointed in Liberian forward Francis Forkey Doe, who missed a number of chances, he responded in the negative.
"My players gave their best, we could see they gave their all, tried to find the back of the net, only they failed to do so," he replied.
He too refused to blame Nigerian centre back Ukah for failing to convert his side's final penalty kick, which gave the Deers the win.
"It's not easy for the players to convert a penalty, because they've played the 90 minutes as well as the extra-time.
"They have to concentrate but they are already tired. It (failure to convert penalties) happens, so we have to accept it, and start focusing on the next match," said Maniam.
And when asked by Goal about his opinion on Halim, who apart from the penalty miss, has been the weakest link in the Red Giants' squad this season, Maniam responded that he will not take any action on the midfielder, choosing instead to boost his morale.
"We have only this set of players, so we need to give them a chance, motivate them, instill positive thoughts, and work on them during training so they can improve," explained the 48-year old coach.