KOTA KINABALU: Gary Phillips wants his charges to end their Premier League 2010 challenge with a win.
The Sabah coach cum manager knows a victory may not be good enough to help them clinch the last slot for Super League promotion, but he insisted that it is important for them to do a good job against KL Pos Malaysia FC in their final fixture of the season at the Selayang Municipal Council Stadium tonight.
He said regardless of what the outcome of the other match is, it is important for the team to finish on a high.
Furthermore, he added: “If we want to have a say on promotion, a win is a must. But there is no point to start thinking about the other match. We have to go out there and focus on our game and try to win it.”
He said it is important for them to do their job first rather than to start worrying or thinking about the other match.
“We just need to do our job, and just wait and see what is going happen after (the game).
Gary is hoping for a good performance from his side.
“I can’t remember when we last played well away from home. Except for the game against Melaka (away), but Melaka is not a good team, apart from that I can’t remember when we had a good performance away.
“So it is important for us to have a good performance regardless of the outcome of the other matches.
Sabah are walking on a tight rope in their promotion bid and they need Harimau Muda to do them a big favour by stealing some points away from their clash against Selangor PKNS, who are now in the driver’s seat in the race to claim the last promotion slot into the Super League.
The two sides are level on 45 points, and only separated by goal difference.
“We scored eight goals last week and should go into this last game full of confidence. And if we want to have a say on promotion, we must win, and hope that things will turn out in our favour.
“PKNS is probably one of the best sides this season, but they will have a tough game against Harimau Muda. And I also hope that Harimau Muda will be professional enough to take the game seriously.
“Despite having nothing to play for other than pride, but they (Harimau Muda) need to look after their good name, and prove their worth, being the national side (Under-19).
Gary also said that after the season is over, he will have a good look at the team before beginning their preparations for the Malaysia Cup which will be held after the Hari Raya festival.
“We will see where we are at (after tonight’s match). If we make it (to the Super League), then we have got to do better next season. If not, then we are not good enough, so we need to work harder.
While refusing to say that this has been a disappointing one, Gary, however, admitted that dropping points against the bottom teams has put them in this desperate position.
He recalled: “Against MP Muar, there was a Sabah player playing for Johor watching the game, and he said to me ‘coach, your team could have won 22-0’. But then again, there is no point to start thinking about that now because what is more important (now) is to keep the team going, in the sense that we need to keep improving because we will be in the Malaysia Cup.”
“If you look back and see the situation we were in, yes it is disappointing, but when you look at our overall performance, I don’t think this has been a disappointing season. We only lost once in the second round, and we have managed to get 10 points out of 12 against the top sides.
“When you look at our defence record, we are among the best three although scoring could have been a lot better.
“I firmly believe that we will only get stronger next season, and we are also determined to be one of the better sides in the Malaysia Cup campaign.
“We will get two or three new players for the Malaysia Cup, but we certainly need to toughen up mentally or psychologically.”
Tonight, Gary will welcome back skipper Md Reithuddin Ag Embran from suspension, but striker Bobby Gonzales is still serving his two-match suspension.
He hinted that he is likely to make two changes to the side that thrashed Melaka 8-2 in their last home tie.