Faris: Coach Fandi knows how to bring the best out of me

LionsXII's two-goal hero Faris Ramli has hailed head coach Fandi Ahmad's influence in helping him regain his form.

The winger put in a match-winning shift on Saturday night, opening the scoring against Kelantan after only four minutes.

He then put the icing on the cake with a second goal minutes before the end of regulation time to seal a 3-0 win for the home team.

"I didn't even know I was supposed to start today," he told assembled media after the game.

"I have a tight groin and coach Fandi told me I would play in the second half.

"He changed his mind all of a sudden this morning and said that I'd been performing in training and that he was going to start me.

"I was surprised but my mind was so relaxed today because I hadn't expected to start!"

Faris' early goal seemed to settle the hosts against Kelantan, with the Red Warriors looking lacklustre in the opening exchanges.

The visitors were unable to effectively utilise Austin Amutu's pace up front, and had goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi to thank for keeping Fandi's charges at bay.

"I'm not too sure what it is about Khairul Fahmi," said Faris, who also scored an early goal against Kelantan in the LionsXII's FA Cup final triumph.

"He's a good goalkeeper, but I just have good luck against him. When I see him, it's my luck to score goals so I'll just take it!"

The 22-year-old Singapore international also took time to thank his coach for his sticking with him.

"I think coach Fandi is a really good coach," he said.

"He has the experience and he really knows how to bring the best out of a player and that makes me want to show more in training.

"I've been really frustrated [this last few weeks] and I wanted to prove some people wrong.

"Fandi told me it was all in my head and I needed that mental strength to keep going.

"So today's my day and I feel fresh for upcoming games and all I can say is I'm back!"

Photo: Weixiang Lim