After four matches in charge of the team, Longhi has earned the trust of the club owner to stay on in the head coach role that was vacated after Ulisses Morais had to return to Portugal due to family ailment.
In an open session with the fans in Johor Bahru, Tunku Ismail explained the current on-goings at the club and revealed that there will not a major shake-up, at least not in the coaching department.
“It’s a big loss for JDT to lose Ulisses Morais. He is an individual who fits the philosophy and policy at JDT. However I’m satisfied with what Raul has done and the players are comfortable with him as well. Hence, there will not be a new head coach,” said Tunku Ismail.
Longhi’s time in charge also came on the back of JDT losing arguably one of their better players in Jorge Pereyra Diaz, who has since decided that his time at the club has to come to an abrupt end.
The decision to retake Diaz back into the team at the start of the season has since proved to be a wrong one and one that Tunku Ismail admitted on hindsight, that it wasn’t the right call to make.
“The decision to be prudent with our money this year is perhaps a wrong decision. Taking back old players with the idea that it will be easy for the team, but that hasn’t been the case.”
“Initially I thought his (Diaz) behaviour off the pitch can be ignore if he performs on the pitch but when he’s here, it’s disruptive to the team. Back then, I took him also because I listened to what the fans want,” he added.
With Luciano Figueroa also not performing to the level expected, JDT has looked a shadow of their dominating selves from the past few seasons. That said, Longhi still managed to negotiate a tricky away encounter to come away with a vital 1-0 win at the weekend.
The mid-season transfer window opens in May and it looks like plans are afoot to bring in quality players to help JDT not only in the Malaysia Cup but potentially in the AFC Cup tournament as well.
The timing of the window means that JDT could well be looking at players from big European Leagues as the competition there normally ends in late May, with this season probably even earlier due to the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup.
“My new sickness is that I want to spend. That is why I’ve prepared the funds to bring in great players. I want to buy expensive players. For the time being, there are five imports that are in our short list. I don’t like to lose, it just doesn’t sit well with me,” explained Tunku Ismail.