Former Malaysia head coach B. Satianathan has called on fans to get behind Nelo Vingada by insisting that not even Jose Mourinho could have led the Harimau Malaya to victories over North Korea and Lebanon.
Vingada has come in for a lot of criticism since back-to-back 4-1 defeats to the North Koreans saw them crash out of contention for a place at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. The qualifying campaign has seen the Malaysians take just one point from five games in a group that also features Lebanon and Hong Kong.
The defeats to North Korea took the Portuguese's record to six losses and one draw in the seven games he has overseen since taking charge in May.
But Satianathan, who is president of The Malaysian Football Coaches Association (PJBM) and head coach of Felda United, has called for a reality check by pointing out that Malaysia's only significant achievements as a national team have come within Southeast Asia.
Even then, Malaysia lag behind Thailand and Singapore, with just one AFF Suzuki Cup title to their name.
"Before he [Vingada] took over, the national team have never beaten sides like North Korea and Lebanon," Satianathan told The New Straits Times.
"Anyway, over the years, we have yet to go beyond the AFF Cup competition scenario. It is the only achievement we can boast about going against sides in the Southeast Asian region, and even then we are not as consistent as Thailand.
"And is it fair to hope for wins against two sides from Asia's top 20? So how can we demand for his resignation just like that? There were calls for Vingada to call up a few under-23 squad players and he did, but nothing changed.
"I think we would not be able to beat North Korea and Lebanon, even if Jose Mourinho was helming the national side. So to be fair, we must give him more time and wait till the AFF Cup next year to see if Vingada can turn things around for the better."
Satianathan also highlighted his own experience of managing under unreasonable pressure and doesn't want to see history repeating itself.
He does not see the benefit in turning against the coach and players, feeling it breeds a reluctance to play for the national team, which is detrimental to the development of the game.
Vingada admitted that some of his players had been badly affected by the online criticism they received following the first defeat to North Korea last Friday and suggested that it had influenced his team selection for the second game on Monday.
"I endured a bad experience in 2007, where we lost in the Asian Cup that Malaysia was playing host to, the players were heavily criticised from just about everywhere and most of them ended up not wanting to pull on the national jersey again," Satianathan said.
"I was appointed to take over the team and I had to pacify and persuade the players to stay on playing for the country. Such a scenario could happen again to Vingada's squad and if it does, then it will be difficult to rebuild the team in the near future.
"So I am asking the fans not to be so angry and vilify the national team. We must stop all this and instead give them our support."