Selangor boss B. Satiananthan insists that rumours of a new head coach does not bother him, after the Red Giants recorded a drab draw against PJ City.
During the Malaysian competitions suspension, Selangor boss B. Satiananthan had been quoted as saying that his side would be gunning for a top-two finish in the Malaysia Super League when competitions resume.
Team captain Taylor Regan then wrote on his social media that they aim to collect the maximum 21 points from the remaining seven league matches.
In the run up to the league resumption, the Red Giants then won all four of the friendly matches they took part in.
But when the crunch time came, they faltered. In their round five match at newly-adopted home ground UiTM Stadium against Petaling Jaya City (PJ City) on Saturday, a lacklustre Selangor could only muster a goalless draw against the visitors.
Despite dominating the match throughout with superior possession against an opposition that offered little threat, Satiananthan’s attackers failed to create many meaningful chances to break the deadlock. They are now in eighth place on six points, four points adrift of second-placed Terengganu FC, with six league rounds remaining. Furthermore, they have not won their last four matches.
However, the experienced coach is adamant that his charges are still on track to bag an Asian competition slot through a top-two league finish, as he said to the press after the encounter.
“I’m satisfied with today, apart from the failure to net three points. My team could not capitalise on their chances despite having a bigger share of the possession. When you fail to put away your chances, you’re going to end up desperate [late in the match]. We were up against a team that lost their earlier match (2-0 to Terengganu) and they predictably responded by parking the bus against us.
“They had tried to play against Terengganu only to lose, so they came out today with the aim of avoiding another defeat. I expect the same from Sabah who will face next week. They lost today against Terengganu, so next week they will play defensively too. My job as the head coach is to come up with a different tactic to counter this gameplay. Maybe I’m just an old coach with outdated tactics, unlike those brilliant Caucasian coaches!
“But nothing has changed; we still want to finish the league campaign in the top two. Sure, we’re far behind where that is now, but all we need is to win one or two matches. Take Perak who had been in second place before this weekend. They lost (1-0 to Melaka United) instead and now they’ve dropped down. What’s important is that my players have tried their best. We will be criticised for the draw but that’s something I have to accept,” explained the former Malaysia national team head coach.
The Malaysian coaches association chief also took the time to question a particular decision by the match referee; Fairuzi Mat Desa, who according to Satiananthan failed to delay the final whistle accordingly for an injury time stoppage given for an apparent cramp picked up by PJ City goalkeeper Kalamullah Alhafiz, who needed treatment.
Selangor vs PJ City. Photo by Sports Regime
“Four minutes were given for stoppage time, yet players kept dropping, and only 4 minutes 20 seconds were played. I don’t understand it. I think in the next generation (life) I’d like to be a referee just to learn how they calculate [the time]. PJ City made two simultaneous substitutions, there was a slight issue, and then their goalkeeper dropped down six, seven times. I know it should have been four minutes plus.
“The ref did not help. It kills the game. For me, if they continue like this, I’ll just tell my goalkeeper to keep going down in injury time in order to gain advantage. If the referee is strict, no one would dare do something like this. I know it’s up to their discretion, but referees should have the guts to time the match properly. The fans are going to say that I’m giving an excuse for the draw, but I’m giving an advice to the referees for the sake of improving football, because I live and breathe it,” he pointed out.
He also addressed recent rumours that the club is looking to replace him with a German coach when his contract ends after the season ends. The rumoured candidate is reportedly a 1990 World Cup winner, as a player.
“I don’t care about my future and the club can decide on what they want. I’m a professional who will still do his job and there’s more than one team in Malaysia. The players have given their 100 per cent and I haven’t seen any of them trying to undermine me. I don’t care, they can bring in anybody [as new head coach].”