ALOR STAR: The last time Kedah reached the top of the Premier I standings on June 3, their position as leaders lasted for just a week.
They crashed to a 1-4 defeat by Selangor last Tuesday to hand back the lead to defending champions Perak.
But on Saturday night, the Canaries regained pole position with a 6-0 demolition of Malacca here while Perak lost 0-2 to Perlis in Kangar.
Kedah coach Jorgen Larsen said: “We have made it to the top again but staying there will be tougher.
“The players must learn to keep their feet on the ground and not repeat the mistake they did against Selangor where over-confidence and complacency resulted in a humiliating defeat.”
In the match against Malacca, national striker Akmal Rizal Rakhli scored a hat-trick and Australian James Monie’s got his fourth goal in as many matches.
But Kedah will have to continue their challenge for the title without three players. Akmal, centreback A. Victor and midfielder Irwan Fadly Idrus will have to check into the national training squad tomorrow.
“I am a little scared to think of playing without three important players for the next few matches. But I will not lose sleep over it. I have full confidence in the ability of the reserves.” said Larsen.
“All the players have learnt to work hard to get Kedah to where we are at the moment and it is important for us to continue doing so for the rest of the season.”
Larsen added that while the Premier I league title would be considered a success for the reigning Premier II champions, qualification for the eight-team Super League next year was of utmost importance.
“Our priority is to first get an automatic place (top six in Premier I) in the Super League. After that, we can start worrying about winning titles,” he said.
The other two places in the Super League will be decided in playoffs among the seventh to 10th teams in Premier I and the top four sides in Premier II.