The team’s poor performance and the fans’ demand for his resignation were the two reasons for K. Devan ending his tenure as Selangor coach on Tuesday.
He pinpointed the 5-1 FA Cup semi-final first leg loss to Kelantan on May 13 as the start of Selangor’s downfall as “it robbed the team of confidence, motivation, fighting spirit and morale”.
The departure of striker Safee Sali to Indonesian side Pelita Jaya and their failure to replace the talismanic striker with an equally prolific goal-getter was among the problem that sent the team on a downward spiral.
“We had a combination of problems with injuries and players struggling for form and it resulted in poor performance this season,” said Devan, who was named coach of the year in 2006 and 2009.
“I failed to motivate the players after the heavy defeat by Kelantan and I’m accountable for this failure.”
The 50-year-old coach also said that he was “baffled and hurt” with the fans’ demands for his sacking.
Banners seeking his axing could be seen at the Shah Alam Stadium when the Red Giants fell 2-1 to T-Team on Saturday.
“I’m disappointed as people have failed to recognise my contribution in the first two years as a coach and only saw my shortcomings in my third year,” said a frustrated Devan.
“I was not happy when my credibility as a coach was questioned based on one season. I don’t understand how I could turn into to a bad coach in a short time.”
Devan, who replaced Dollah Salleh as coach before the start of the 2009 season, is Selangor’s most successful coach –winning six titles in two years.
The Seremban-based coach won the Super League (2009, 2010), Selangor Cup (2009), FA Cup (2009) and the Sultan Ahmad Shah Cup (2009, 2010) before Selangor hit poor form this season.
Devan, who began his coaching career in 2004 with Negri Sembilan, wishes Selangor and his former players all the best.
“I’m sad to leave but this is the best decision for me and for Selangor as we’ll both have enough time to prepare for next season,” said Devan.
“I miss the players and I want to thank them and the Selangor management for helping me for the past two years.
“I am free agent now. I will take a short break from football and search look for a team with the right target and budget in the Super League next season.”
Devan’s right hand man – P. Maniam – has taken over as coach of Selangor and he has been tasked with winning their two remaining Malaysia Cup matches against Police and Kuala Lumpur.
The Red Giants are staring at an early Malaysia Cup exit after just one win and a draw from four outings. Their latest setback – a 2-1 defeat by T-Team last week – sees them occupying third spot in Group D with four points. T-Team lead the group with nine points, followed by Kuala Lumpur with eight. Police prop up the table with just a point.