Selangor 'motivated' to continue strong start to season - coach Maniam
Selangor coach P. Maniam believes his side's impressive position of third spot of the Malaysia Super League (MSL) will inspire his men to continue their gallant run in 2017.
That was after the Red Giants saw off struggling Sarawak 2-1 at Selayang Stadium on Saturday for their fourth win in nine games this season.
The management had given Maniam the modest target of MSL survival for the Malaysia Cup giants this year after they had a lost a raft of players, including Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Nazmi Faiz and Shahrom Kalam.
"The season is still early and we still tough games to navigate, but our performance so far will motivate the players for sure," Maniam told ESPN FC.
"The management has been really supportive towards the team, and their confidence has translated to the players, who are motivated to perform."
Romanian winger Victor Astafei gave Selangor a 22nd minute lead at Selayang on Saturday, and Liberian hit man Francis Forkey Doe doubled that advantage just after the restart.
Maniam's men had to endure a nervy final few minutes after Mateo Roskam reduced the deficit in the 83rd minute.
The head coach says his team needs to make improvements if they want to maintain their better-than-expected run.
"We need to improve in the middle third, and I want us to keep it tight at the back. Even though our foreigners got us the goals, the local players were also excellent and have been doing their part to chip in with the goals," Maniam said.
Kedah, meanwhile, had to be satisfied with a point in an incident-filled 1-1 draw against PKNS FC which saw the referee brandish a flurry of yellow cards at Darul Aman Stadium.
"Oh yeah - you want to mess with a Viking," posted Kedah's Danish forward Ken Ilso on his official Instagram page after the game.
Pahang took advantage of Kedah's slip to go top of the table on goal difference, but level with them on 19 points.
But Johor Darul Ta'zim will overtake both teams and go to 20 points if they win both their games in hand.
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.