PETALING JAYA: For a man who has tasted success in the Malaysia Cup more than once, Petaling Jaya City coach P. Maniam is surprisingly playing it cool with his players.
Instead of turning on the heat on his players to emulate his path of success, Maniam has been encouraging them to enjoy the process.
The former Selangor striker won the prestigious title in 1995,1996 and 1997, and also lifted it as an assistant coach with the same club in 2015.
Maniam is ready to impart his experience and wisdom to his boys in the Malaysia Cup starting on Sept 25 but he will be more than happy if they reach at least the quarter-finals.
“It’s not right to pressure the players from the start. The process is more important. We must prepare game by game,” said Maniam.
“I’ve shared my knowledge and experiences of winning the Cup but I don’t expect them to win it immediately.
“Our initial target is to reach the quarter-finals. For that to happen, we need to be at our best in the first two games.
“If we get two good results, we will pick up pace then.”
The club are taking part in the prestigious competition for the first time, and it’s symbolic because they are making their debut in the 100th edition of the Malaysia Cup.
The Phoenix are in Group D with Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim, Sabah and the fourth-placed Premier League team.
“It will be challenging, that’s for sure. We know JDT’s quality as we lost to them twice this season, but in our home game against them, we showed many positives in the defeat (0-2).
“We beat Sabah twice this season, but we won’t underestimate them because they have Datuk Ong (Kim Swee) as coach now.
“So we might see a different style of football. If we go in with commitment, desire, teamwork and passion, we have a good chance to qualify for the quarter-finals.”
In the Super League, PJ City finished seventh with 24 points. It was commendable as they were the only side who did not field any foreigners.
Maniam said it was a special season for the team and hoped the development would continue in the years to come.
“I’ve to laud the commitment and dedication shown by everyone in this team. The leadership, management, coaches and the players have to be praised for all that they have done on and off the pitch for this club.”