MALAYSIA played well below par against Ukaine in the World League Round Two in Singapore, and the 5-1 winning scoreline did not even impress coach Tai Beng Hai.
Beng Hai brought out the knives out early as Ukraine were never in the match, but were made to look good for three quarters because of a bungling forwardline, led in shame by Firhan Ashaari.
The coach only had one day to talk his players out of their comfort zone before they take on rough-riders Oman, who beat hosts Singapore 3-2 on Saturday.
"Im not impressed as the team did not play hockey for the first three quarters and we can't afford this in the remainder of the tournament," said Beng Hai.
"Maybe the newly-laid pitch, as well as it (Ukraine) being our first match could be some of the factors that caused a jittery start but now that we have gotten over both, we must play differently against Oman," said Beng Hai.
Firhan, 22, has turned out 67 times for the country, including five matches in the recent World Cup at the Hague where he scored one goal -- but against Ukraine he was a total flop.
"I felt that I played OK, but then again, I have played better before with less mistakes made in the semi-circle," admitted Firhan.
Circle penatrations were numerous against Ukraine, but Malaysia only won five penalty corners and shots at goal were few and apart. However, Izwan Firdaus scored two penalty corner rebound goals to ease the pressure when flickers Razie Rahim and Faizal Saari found the Ukraine goalkeeper to be a big wall.
"The third pass was a big problem as the forwards could not connect after that, and we can't afford it against a hard-playing country like Oman," said Beng Hai.
Oman's penalty corner flicker Mohamed Bait Jandal scored a brace to claim Singapore's scalp, and Malaysia can't afford to make the same mistakes as this tournament is supposed to be a walk in the park for Beng Hai's top-seeded players.
All eight teams qualify for the quarter-finals but Malaysia need to finish tops in Group A to play the bottom team in Group B with could be either Bangladesh of Mexico.
The stakes are high in Singapore as three teams qualify for the World League Semi-finals in either Belgium or Argentina -- which offers tickets to the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.