PETALING JAYA: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) will go on a splurge to reinforce their team after losing to Kuala Lumpur in the Malaysia Cup final.
The eight-time Super League winners had a stellar 2021 with domineering performances but the final defeat has given them reasons to do some tinkering with the existing squad.
Their owner, Tengku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, issued a statement on the club’s social media page that the players had grown comfortable in the last three seasons.
“We rarely lose, so after a defeat every once in a while, we will be more hardworking.
“It’s a blessing in disguise and it is good to have a wake-up call,” said Tunku Ismail.
“No matter what we do, if Allah doesn’t grant the good fortunes, then it’s not for us.
“I feel that in the last three seasons, we got too comfortable, too confident and we didn’t spend on the squad. But we have to do it now because we have been challenged.
“It has made us more motivated to compete next year.
“I consider the defeat as something positive.
“We’ll become more obsessed to fix our mistakes and strengthen the team.”
The Southern Tigers will prepare for the new season by undergoing pre-season training in the Middle East.
“We’ll play with several local and European clubs as part of our preparations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Some players will stay while others will be loaned out or released.
“The JDT technical director (Martin Prest) will make the announcement soon.”
So far, the club have extended the services of midfielder Natxo Insa, centreback Shane Lowry and striker Bergson Da Silva.
Despite the Cup setback, Tunku Ismail appreciated the effort and commitment shown by the players and coaches this season.
“I would like to say thank you to every fan and the JDT family.
“Well done and congratulations to every individual at the club – players, coaches and staff – for creating history as the only club to win the league title eight years in a row and qualify for the highest Asian club level, the AFC Champions League.”
On his plan to take a short break, he said: “This defeat means that I won’t be taking a break. A wounded Tiger will always bounce back.”