" I am in a no win situation. When we lose, I get criticised, we draw I get questioned. And when we lose I get hammered. Well this is the stark reality of being a national coach."
Those were the first few words of national coach Dato Ong Kim Swee the morning after Malaysia and Singapore played to a scoreless draw at the National Stadium in Singapore.
The knives were out barely minutes after the game ended, as some claimed that Malaysia were "boring" played " ugly" or lack "imagination" while on the pitch.
While Kim Swee was peeved, he could not be the least bothered by snide remarks.
" Singapore had their best players available at their disposal. Are we in the same boat. Let's look at the scenario as a whole and not only what suits certain personalities," said Kim Swee when contacted in Singapore.
" We are trying to build a team here, starting from scratch and I am proud of the grit, determination, character of the players as some were thrown in the deep end and gave a good account of themselves.
" Had we played an open game we would have been torn apart as happened against Indonesia.
" I will play according to the strength of our team and plan a strategy against the teams we face.
" In the end it's the results that matter and I will carry out my responsibilities to the best of my ability."
Malaysia were largely defensive as midfielder Badrol Bakhtiar opted to be more defensive and Irfan Fazail gave away possession too easily.
And upfront skipper Amri Yahya and Hazuan Bakri found it tough to find any decent openings.
But it was the Defence that held its own and came showed character.
" We spent that four days of training on Defence and I am happy it worked out," said Kim Swee.
" Now we face Afghanistan on Tuesday and the game plan needs to change. It has to be effective rather then pretty as the opponents have stronger physical attributes."
Kim Swee was pleased with the way the debutants played although they were nervous in the initial stages of the match.
But it was the few minutes that veteran Nor Shahril Idlan Talala had on the pitch that warmed the coaches heart.
" He gave us a different dimension as his ability to hold the ball and create openings gave the players confidence in the late stages of the match," said Kim Swee.
" It is commitment such as that displayed by him that I want the younger and inexperienced players to emulate."
Kim Swee will hit the training ground this evening with 17 players that did not travel to Singapore or play that match.
And the next 48 hours will be used to cone up with a game plan against the Afghans, with result orientated being his priority no matter what the crunch potato critics may say.