Luiz Dos Santos in training with his Penang team-mates. The striker has yet to open his scoring account over two matches.
GEORGE TOWN: Penang are not pressing the panic button yet despite going through a dry patch in the Premier League.
After a storming start to the season which saw them break away with Police at the top of the table, the Panthers have only registered one win in their last four matches.
With seven games remaining and only the top two teams to be promoted to the Super League, the islanders are currently in third spot, four points behind the second-placed Felda United.
After only losing once in their first 11 games, Penang’s sequence of bad results began with the 2-3 defeat to JDT II on April 11. Although they bounced back with a 3-1 away win over Sabah, a 1-2 setback against Police and a 0-0 draw against UiTM have seen them lose ground in the promotion race.
Penang coach K. Devan blames the dry run on a lack of luck on the field.
“I am satisfied with the players’ performances but we seem to have run out of luck in recent games. We are unable to repeat the results from the first half of the season,” said Devan on Thursday.
“The losses against JDT II and Police are good examples. We played well in both games, but finished empty-handed after our opponents scored during (the second half) stoppage time.”
Although they need to regain their winning touch fast, Devan is playing it cool. He refuses to add undue pressure on his players to haul in Felda.
“We have lost the second position in the promotion race, but I am not overly worried. There are still 21 points to play for, and we are only four points away (from Felda) and can catch up.
“The other top teams will be playing each other and will drop points along the way. We have to be ready to capitalise on such opportunities.”
After last week’s disappointing goalless draw against UiTM which was played over two days due to bad weather, the Panthers hope to return to their winning ways when they entertain strugglers Perlis at the City Stadium tonight.
One player who will be looking to impress against the Northern Lions is Penang’s mid-season signing Luiz Dos Santos.
The striker has yet to open his scoring account over two matches, and Devan has requested for patience to allow the Brazilian to flourish.
“There are some players who hit the ground running while others need time to settle in a new environment.
“I have no doubt about Luiz’s skills and quality to help Penang in the league. But he still lacks individual understanding and interaction with his team-mates. Given time, he will get better,” said Devan.
Unbeaten Police, who host UiTM on Friday, lead the Premier League standings by five points from Felda, who travel to Alor Setar to take on an in-form Kedah.