Fandi riled by erratic LionsXII displays
From the highs of a 4-1 win against Pahang FA on Tuesday to a listless 1-0 loss to Selangor FA on Saturday - watching LionsXII's roller-coaster Malaysian Super League (MSL) season has been an exercise in patience for fans.
Such Jekyll-and-Hyde displays have left head coach Fandi Ahmad exasperated and angry after yet another disappointing result at Shah Alam Stadium.
Despite putting on a brave front, the coach did not mince his words when asked to comment on his team’s woeful performance.
“I am definitely very frustrated with the mistakes that the players had been making over and over again,” the Singaporean football legend said.
"We played below par, the simple errors we were making, especially concentration-wise."
Selangor had taken a deserved lead as Steve Pantelidis directed a header in off Paulo Rangel’s flick-on after an Andrik Vermansyah corner in the 24th minute.
It was hard to swallow for the 51-year-old coach who did not hesitate to point out his team’s failings at Shah Alam in the post-match interview.
"We didn’t deserve to win because we didn’t create enough," Fandi said.
"We are missing on our basics today, the passes were gone and the creativity wasn’t there.
"We had shown them the video on how good Selangor were with their set-pieces and the components of their key players and instructions were given, but I think we lost focus."
What was equally tough for the LionsXII tactician to stomach was the over-reliance of the team’s leading players – goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud, acting skipper and libero Safuwan Baharudin and club top scorer Khairul Amri.
While the former two were attempting in vain to drag the side back into contention, the latter had an uncharacteristically quiet outing as he was left frustrated with his stray passing and lack of support and understanding up front.
“We have said many times again and again that everyone has to step up,” emphasized Fandi.
“We cannot simply depend on Izwan, Safuwan or Amri, they are overworked at times. Some players need to buck up and carry the team.
“Football is a team game – they must understand that.”
With the league taking a fortnight’s recess due to international commitments in Malaysia, Fandi has further revealed that the LionsXII will be playing two friendly matches in Myanmar in their bid to rescue their season ahead of their next match against Johor Darul Ta’zim I on 10 May at Jalan Besar Stadium.