Juan Torres Wants His Charges To Remain Cool, Focused On U-19 Asean Championship

08/07/2024 10:26 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 (Bernama) -- National Under-19 (U-19) football team head coach Juan Torres Garrido wants his charges to keep their heads cool and avoid pressure as they head to the 2024 ASEAN Under-19 Championship in Surabaya, Indonesia from July 17 to 29 as the reigning champions. 

At same time, the Spanish coach does not want his players to take the competition lightly as they mount their title defense.

“Yes, I understand but if it were the same team, maybe. There has been success in Malaysia in the two editions (2018, 2022), but this is a new group of players.

"So they have to show that they are good enough, that they deserve it and I think there is no extra pressure because these are two different teams,” he told reporters during the first day of training camp at Universiti Malaya Arena here, today.

When asked about the teams they will face after being drawn into Group C for the tournament, he preferred not to dwell on the matter.

According to him, his main focus at the moment is to ensure preparations are well so that the team would be solid and able to use a game-by-game approach at the tournament.

Credit: FB - Football Association of Malaysia

“I don’t like to talk much about our opponents, whether they are weak or strong, because at this moment, we don’t know much about this generation.

“This time, we have a good team, we have all the players and we thank JDT (Johor Darul Ta'zim) and Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim because they allowed us to have their players in our first team," he said.

Meanwhile, on Selangor FC’s Muhammad Abu Khalil, who recently joined Japan League 2 team Crezo Osaka, he said it is good for Malaysian players to be recognised by foreign teams.

“I am very confident in him. I know the country (Japan) well from the past few years. I have no worries about the quality of the football culture there,” he said.

Malaysia has been drawn in Group C alongside five-time champions Thailand, Singapore and Brunei, and only the top team in each of the three group and one best second-placed team will advance to the semi-finals.

Malaysia’s Under-19 team, then led by Bojan Hodak, won their first regional title in 2018 and then for a second time four years later, under the guidance of Hassan Sazali Waras, .