Perak are riding high after a narrow 1-0 win over Johor FC at the Pasir Gudang Stadium on Saturday and are now third in the table on goal difference with nine points to keep pace with leaders Kelantan (10) and second placed Terengganu.
Coach Norizan Bakar, while pleased with the three points as teams jostle for the top places in the 14-team league, wants his players to raise their game if they are to pose a threat to their rivals.
“Right now the three points please me. It will come in handy while we struggle to get the team organised. There are several shortcomings that need to be ironed-out,” said Norizan after Saturday’s match in which Shahrom Abdul Kalam scored the winner in the 77th minute.
Johor FC’s ball-watching defenders allowed Michal Kubala to find enough space to send a through ball for Shahrom to drill home a grounder into the right corner.
“No doubt we have won three matches and lost one ... but there are lot of loopholes that need to be plugged.
“I won’t reveal the shortcomings but it will be thrashed out between the players and me. I have players who can carry our challenge.
“All we need is some polishing and get the experience along the way.”
Perak’s next match is on Saturday when they travel to play unpredictable Felda United, who fell to Malaysia Cup champions Negri Sembilan 1-0 in Paroi after pulling off an upset against mighty Selangor by a similar score in a mid-week match.
Meanwhile, Johor FC’s blunt forwards paid a heavy price for the defeat. It was a match the hosts could have easily won after controlling the first half. Former Perak striker Shahrizal Saad, Haris Safwan, Azi Shahril Azmi and Zamir Chin all muffed chances with only Perak goalkeeper Nasril Nourdin to beat.
“We need to act fast and get a foreign striker before our next match against Kedah away on Saturday,” said team manager Wan Nizam Wan Omar.
Johor FC are in the midst of short-listing several names from France, Mali, Cameroon and Ghana.
The defeat to Perak was Johor FC’s third in a row, having lost to Negri Sembilan (2-0) and Kelantan (2-1). Their only win was against newcomers PKNS FC (2-1) in their opening match.