Devan defends his Phoenixes against claims of playing ‘anti-football’

  • Football
  • Saturday, 25 May 2019

A rampage: PJ City’s Elizeu Melo Batista (right) challenging Terengganu’s Lee Tuck during their Super League match earlier this month. PJ City won 5-3. — Bernama

PETALING JAYA: Petaling Jaya (PJ) City coach K. Devan has cranked up the mind games ahead of their Super League clash against PKNS at the Shah Alam Stadium tonight.

Devan has rubbished claims that his team are being “anti-football” due to the perceived physical approach to matches and their defensive tactics.

The 58-year-old coach said his team are seventh in the goal-scoring tally with 16 and even their defenders – Zamri Pin Ramli, P. Rajesh and Mohd Aizulridzwan Razali – had scored goals.

“I have to admit that we are good at defending as a team. We are ranked fifth in goals conceded as we let in 17 goals but we are not a side who only defend in matches,” said Devan.

“We always try to win our games. If you notice, our defenders have been scoring goals lately ... this shows we are attacking and even pushing our defenders up to score goals.”

PJ City, nicknamed the Phoenixes, have been soaring of late following their three-match winning run which includes 2-0 and 5-3 wins over heavyweights Pahang and Terengganu earlier this month. They also downed relegation battlers Kuala Lumpur 1-0.

PKNS, on the other hand, are on a downward spiral having gone winless in their last five matches.

However, Devan claims PKNS are the favourites in tonight’s clash, based on the quality of their attacking foursome – Liberian striker Kpah Sherman, Colombian Romel Morales, Chan Vathanaka (Cambodia) and Gabriel Guerra (Argentina).

He added that PJ City will have a late fitness test for skipper S. Subramaniam and Brazilian midfielder Sergio Filho.

“PKNS are the favourites. They have also been playing together from last season, so they have better understanding,” he said.

“They are also out of the FA Cup, so their focus is only on the Super League.

“Sergio is recovering from a viral fever and has missed training while Subramaniam is carrying a groin injury. These two are our key players so we have to check their conditions before the match.”

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