Shahril tells Young Tigers to ignore rivals' reputation

DOHA: The opponents may have a bigger reputation but Malaysia's Young Tigers have been told not to feel intimidated.

Team manager, Datuk Seri Shahril Mokhtar, said the Malaysians should not worry too much about their opponents' strength as it will only put them under undue stress at the Under-23 Asian Cup in Doha.

Shahril said it is better for the Malaysians to focus on playing one match at a time.

Led by Spanish coach, Juan Torres Garrido, the Malaysian side are up against 2018 champions Uzbekistan tomorrow, followed by 2018 runners-up Vietnam (April 20) and Kuwait (April 23).

"Since the start of centralised training, I always told the players to not feel pressured because we will always be the unfancied team.

"We know Uzbekistan are favourites, but we will try to not make it easy for them.

"The first match is crucial as it can be considered the best motivation. If we can win or draw, that would be good enough.

"With the progress shown throughout the three weeks of training (in Qatar), I'm optimistic that we can give Uzbekistan a good fight," he said.

Shahril felt that his players have acclimatised to the weather in Qatar despite only training at night due to Ramadan.

"The players need to adapt to the weather in the afternoon because we have two matches in the afternoon. There are still a few days before the first match (against Uzbekistan)."

"Here in Qatar, it's hot and dry, so the players need to be smart in taking breaks during the game," he said.

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