TMJ explains Gomez’s JDT exit, tells fans to expect more transfers

Vocal Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has broken the silence over Mario Gomez’s sudden departure, revealing the Argentine did not adhere to the club’s philosophy and made signings that were unsuitable to their vision.

The Southern Tigers and Gomez reached a mutual agreement to part ways just days before the start of the 2017 Malaysia Super League (MSL) season, a move that shocked football followers as the former South China coach had delivered several trophies.

JDT, who reached the AFC Champions League playoff under new coach Benjamin Mora on Tuesday, retained the league title and landed a historic AFC Cup after Gomez replaced Bojan Hodak midway through the 2015 season.

It’s true that Gomez helped a lot ... but there are things behind the scenes that fans don’t know

He then guided JDT to the FA Cup and a third straight MSL title last year.

Tunku Ismail revealed it was those trophies that kept Gomez in the dugout but insisted a decision had to be made as JDT had begun drifting away from the club's desired philosophy.

“When Mario Gomez became the head coach, the philosophy wasn’t followed but I chose to remain quiet and didn’t comment on it because he produced good results,” said Tunku Ismail.

“However, everyone needs to realise that the modern football era needs us to go even further and to be more effective. There are many changes required in terms of philosophy and tactics … and most importantly is to create an identity associated with JDT’s playing style.

“It’s true that Gomez helped a lot and I gratefully say Alhamdulillah. But there are things behind the scenes that fans don’t know.

“When Gomez signed several new players, there were some that I disagreed with. It was because the playing style that Mario wanted to use for those players did not fit into the philosophy I had set for the club.

JDT have a new-look team in 2017. Photo: JDT

“Yes, the results were good but when I looked at the bigger picture in terms of preparation, there were no improvements compared to last season’s style of playing.”

JDT replaced Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Juan Martin Lucero and Hariss Harun with Gonzalo Cabrera, Jeronimo Barrales and Brian Ferreira in the pre-season.

The club also welcomed Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Nazmi Faiz Mansor, Safawi Rasid and R. Gopinathan after releasing the likes of Amri Yahyah, Safee Sali, Nazrin Nawi and Jasazrin Jamaluddin.

“I’m very satisfied with the local players because I can see that they can go even further. Some of our foreign players haven’t shown their full potential yet.

“I am not fully satisfied but we need to be realistic because it (changes) is based on the budget we have. If every year we want to win trophies, become champions and spend money, one day the club will suffer financially.

“I don’t want to reveal too much because I need to take care of the morale of certain players, but what I can say is that in June there will be changes at JDT. I already have plans for June as well as December.”

TMJ also reaffirmed his backing for Mora, who has managed in quick time to take JDT one step further than Gomez at the continental level.

“He is still young and both of us want to reach our targets,” Tunku Ismail said.

“(I) know that he needs time because in football, time is very important. I’m confident that he is the most suitable coach for JDT at the moment.”

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