Fandi: LionsXII need to rebuild confidence at the back despite win

It was a good result for the LionsXII, but head coach Fandi Ahmad still had some reservations following a mini-collapse late on in the 5-3 win against PDRM.

A scintillating attacking display that led to five goals could not mask the defensive concerns coach Fandi brought up in his post-match press conference.

Chief among his headaches was the LionsXII defence as they allowed the visitors to come back late in the game through a hat-trick from Malian striker Dramane Traore.

The goals came after Afiq Yunos' exit, with no powerful physical presence left to deal with the lanky PDRM forward.

“Afiq provides the physique to the team. In the first half, the PDRM foreigners could not find any way past us, but his exit gave confidence to Traore,” Fandi said.

“With Firdaus (Kasman) also struggling as well, we lost quite a bit of shape during that period and will now need to work on rebuilding confidence at the back.”

Forward Khairul Amri was also substituted during the second half with an ankle problem, as the absence of the two key players on the pitch saw a dip in momentum late in the game.

The shift was not lost on Fandi as he pointed out how the Lions faded towards the end.

“We lacked the experience in maintaining the tempo and rhythm of the game and it showed when our experienced players were injured,” he said.

However, there were still some positives, and Fandi was keen to point them out after this opening day win.

“We now have fighters who are willing to work hard for each other,” he said.

“One major change from 2014 is in defence. Apart from Afiq, the rest did not play much while Hafiz (Sujad) spent more time playing in midfield.”

Fandi was also pleased that his 2015 LionsXII side are starting to look like a more attractive attacking outfit.

“We had superb attacking football for 70 minutes and entertained the crowd, so we hope the fans are happy,” he said.

“We played at a high tempo and our speed killed them off. It is also a good sign that we have a wide scoring spread, and our midfielders are also among the scorers.”

Photo: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo