Pitch woes bigger concern for TCH than his players

The head coach of Malaysia is extremely unhappy with the state of the field of play at Bukit Jalil National Stadium and calls for improvement.

Tan Cheng Hoe is a person who normally keeps his cool at the worst of times. He was still calm after the defeat to Vietnam in the final of the 2018 AFF Cup as well as after the disappointing loss to Singapore in the 2019 Airmarine Cup but the pitch at Bukit Jalil had him in a fiery mood.

Malaysia earned a morale boosting 2-0 win over Nepal on Sunday through goals from Safawi Rasid and Shahrul Saad in a very dominating performance from start to finish. Cheng Hoe was understandably pleased with the way his charges handled the match despite missing a flurry of good openings.

Yet on a night of positives in terms of results, Cheng Hoe could not hide his worry over the bumpy pitch at supposedly the best stadium in the country and was almost pleading for the stadium authorities to do something and improve the situation.

"I'm not happy with the pitch condition because it doesn't suit the way we want to play. The pitch condition slow down our way of passing, movement and especially going into the final third of the pitch. Difficult to score but of course this is not an excuse but I sincerely hope that the pitch can be improved for the future because the way we play, we need quality pitch.


"The game against Nepal is a motivation and a good warm up match for us to see what is the best option against Timor Leste. We made some changes which made us lose some shape in the team but apart from that we also need to work on the attacking side.

"We have a few more days to prepare but at the same time, we created the chances to score and that's a good sign. Football isn't just about open play. We also need to look at the set pieces and because it's always 50-50. If we can score from those situations then it can only be good," said Cheng Hoe in the post-match press conference.

The players will go through a round of recovery training on Monday morning before being released for a short break for the Raya festivities. With the first of the Timor Leste matches being played on the third day of Raya, this gives the players an opportunity for a breather before the coming crunch games.

Cheng Hoe expect his players to reach back at the team hotel on June 5 at 4pm being the cut-off time and will not be handing out any leniency should players fall foul of the set time. The team is expected to resume training on the same day.


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