Cheng Hoe eases the pressure by telling players to enjoy final atmosphere


Joyful celebration: Selangor players and officials rejoice after beating Terengganu 3-2 on aggregate to reach the Malaysia Cup final.– Bernama

PETALING JAYA: It will be an amazing story if Selangor can defy the odds to capture their 34th Malaysia Cup crown.

But a fairy-tale ending and reputation aside, coach Tan Cheng Hoe feels what’s more important is for his boys to enjoy the final atmosphere as they face favourites Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow.

The former national team manager, who only took charge of Selangor two months ago, is taking a calmer approach ahead of the clash of the giants.

Cheng Hoe feels that it is important to ease the pressure on some of his players, especially the younger ones.

“Selangor have many young players who will experience the final atmosphere for the first time in their lives,” said Cheng Hoe.

“I want my players to give their best and that hopefully, will give us positive results.” - Tan Cheng Hoe“I want my players to give their best and that hopefully, will give us positive results.” - Tan Cheng Hoe

“My target as a coach is to qualify for the final. Of course, now that we are here, we want to win the contest but I can’t put too much pressure on the players because most of them are young.

“More so as we will be up against a team that have been so consistent throughout the season. “I want my players to give their best performance and that hopefully, will give us positive results,” said the 54-year-old coach, whose nine-match unbeaten streak since taking over in September ended with a 0-1 defeat by Terengganu in the semi-final return leg on Monday.

Despite the defeat, the 33-time Malaysia Cup winners advanced to the final on a 3-2 aggregate, having defeated Terengganu 3-1 in the first leg last week.

JDT, on the other hand, booked their place in the final for the second year in a row after beating Sabah 4-1 on aggregate. JDT fell to a shock 0-2 defeat by Kuala Lumpur in the final in Bukit Jalil last year.

Cheng Hoe admitted he was very excited for the big day and thanked all the players, staff and management for their good work.

"The players have worked hard from the start of the season. Success does not come through me alone. “It was a collective effort, together with the management and the coaching staff,” added Cheng Hoe, who hopes the team will save their best for last.

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