Only three more preparation matches to go for Tan before the important assignment that is the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup in November, and that starts with the Sri Lanka international friendly scheduled to take place on Friday.
The match in Colombo will be Tan's seventh match in charge as the head coach after taking over from Eduardo Vingada following the failure to progress further in the 2019 Asian Cup qualifier. Three wins, one draw and two defeats have thus far been achieved under his tutelage and a fourth win is expected come the end of tomorrow's match.
Sri Lanka are placed 199 in the FIFA rankings, 28 rungs lower than where Malaysia are sitting and despite the opponent hosting the match, Tan is very much expected to come away with his second consecutive win after the 1-3 victory achieved in the last match against Cambodia.
"Once again we are looking to find combinations and build up understanding. Although we can see that Sri Lanka are not that good in terms of rankings, we will not be taking them lightly. In whichever friendly, we are always looking for a positive result on top of continuing our improvement as a team," chimed Tan on Wednesday before departing for Colombo.
In the last two matches against Chinese Taipei and Cambodia, Zaquan Adha was put as the focal point of the attack but looks isolated from the rest of the team as they struggled to utilise him. It wasn't until the introduction in the second half of the second match, that Malaysia showed more bite in attack.
This time around, Tan has two more options in his arsenal - Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Mohamadou Sumareh, both of whom play for Pahang. The former Kedah head coach is looking forward to giving both players a chance to see how they fare, citing additional requirement for naturalised Sumareh.
"It's a good sign (to have more attacking options), but we haven't yet got to test them out. I hope these two players can bring something different because we've been struggling up front recently. Of course we hope that Sumareh can do well. Perhaps the expectations on him is a bit high, so he will be under some pressure and it will not be easy."
"He (Sumareh) was slightly tired (after Wednesday's morning training) because he was rested after the last match against JDT (Johor Darul Ta'zim). But with one or two more trainings, I'm sure his fitness levels will improve. His style in the league is slightly different as he's more on individual.
"Here, we need his individual skills for penetration but I also want to see him playing more as a team as well," added Tan.
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