Sathianathan was not at all pleased with his performance of his reserves in the 1-3 loss to Premier League side Kuala Lumpur in a friendly match at the Cheras Football Stadium last Saturday. But they have two more matches to show that they can challenge the regulars.
The Red Giants will be playing two Premier League sides – Penang at the City Stadium in George Town today and Perak II in Ipoh on Feb 22 – before wrapping up their pre-season.
Sathianathan said he was giving his reserves a chance to show they are as good as his regulars and, so far, he was not satisfied with their performance.
“I want the reserves to be challenging the regulars, I want them to be ready to step into the first team at any time but I can’t see them doing it at the moment,” said the former national team coach yesterday.
“I tried them out against KL but we ended up losing ... I don’t mind losing matches in the pre-season as I am only focused on the players’ performance. But they didn’t show their real abilities.”
“They will get chances in the next two matches. If they don’t impress, they may have to be on the bench when the season starts.”
Sathianathan said his injured Spanish striker Rufino Segovia and winger Wan Zack Haikal Wan Noor are back in training but were still not ready to start matches.
Winger Mohd Syazwan Zainon and midfielder Abdul Halim Saari are also recuperating from injuries.
“Rufino and Wan Zack will get 20 minutes in the next two matches but Syazwan and Halim still need more time to recover from their injuries,” said the 61-year-old.
“We can’t rush their return to the team and risk aggravating their injuries.
“They may end up spending more time on the treatment table. Besides, we still have other options in their positions.”
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