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Rajagobal happy with Malaysia's progress


02-Aug-2012
Titleholders Malaysia are shaping up well ahead of the AFF Suzuki Cup although their strike partnership has gone off the boil.

Safee Sali, the leading scorer with five goals at the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, has not hit the target for the national team since last November while Norsharul Idlan Tahala is searching for form after injury.

But coach K. Rajagobal is confident the duo will find their scoring touch before the start of the AFF Suzuki Cup in November.

Malaysia gave a good account of themselves against English Premier League champions Manchester City and Arsenal despite losing both recent matches.

"Our strikers played better against Manchester City compared to Arsenal but there is still room for improvement," said Rajagobal.

"My strikers worked hard in both the matches but it's normal for strikers to suffer a barren spell in their careers. Safee and Norshahrul are professionals and they know what they need to do."

Rajagobal, who led Malaysia to their first ever AFF Suzuki Cup crown two years ago, said that there was plenty to be pleased about in the team's performance against Manchester City.

"The team played well overall and we have to bear in mind that City have world class players like Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez," he told local media.

"Gary Steven Robbat played very well and forced me to keep him throughout the match. S. Subramaniam also played very well...these are good signs and will give me more options."

Rajagobal will have more time to work on the team's technique and combinations during a training camp in Austria from August 4-16.

The defending champions and co-hosts will play 2010 runners-up Indonesia, three-time winners Singapore and the second-placed team from the qualifying tournament in Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup from November 24 to December 1.