KOTA KINABALU: Sabah stretched their unbeaten run to six matches on Monday but their coach and manager Gary Phillips is still a frustrated man.
The Aussie believes that they squandered a great opportunity to close the gap on runaway leaders KL Felda United FC in the Premier League challenge.
He insisted that they could have done better than just settling for a draw against the table toppers in the Monday’s clash at the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium in Cheras.
But instead the coach saw his side putting up what could be described as a lackadaisical performance against an opponent obviously wanting to end the tie in a draw.
“Before the game, yes, I was happy to settle for a draw, but not after because we knew we could have got something more than just a point. The players knew that, and you can see the disappointment on their faces,” said Gary referring to the stalemate 0-0 draw in a game with a few goal scoring chances.
“I know some of them are disappointed with their game because they knew they could have done better,” Gary added without naming.
Their next game at home will be this Friday against Selangor PKNS FC.
On a positive note, Gary said he was delighted that defensively the team looked solid.
“That’s the foundation of a football team,” said Gary before admitting they need more from the midfield.
The one-point gained from the match saw Sabah overtaken by Selangor PKNS, who defeated Johor MP Muar 2-0 in another Premier League encounter, from the second spot.
But Felda United still looked unshakeable at the top of the 12-team standings on 35 points followed by PKNS and Sabah on 27 and 26 points respectively.
Armed Forces are in fourth on 24 points, ahead of Harimau Muda on a better goal difference, while Sarawak sixth on 21 points.
Gary also insisted that their upcoming games against Selangor PKNS, Harimau Muda and Armed Forces would be a massive one, which could give them a telling factor how their season will go.
He even went on to say that their Friday’s home date with Selangor PKNS FC will be a bigger tie than that of against Felda United.
“I’m taking the game like a grand final, or even like a Malaysia Cup final,” Gary said before predicting it is going to be a physically tough game.
And Gary is considering bringing in fresh legs and might start with Bobby Gonzales as well as Shahrul Azhar Ture, who did not make the trip to Kuala Lumpur due to suspension.
He also hopes that Alto Linus, who limped out of the Felda game late in the first half after getting a knock on his face, will be fit to face PKNS.
“I hope the players will lift their game against PKNS because from now on everything will be a lot tougher especially in the next three games,” said Gary.