By Aysha Ridzuan in Kuala Lumpur
Harimau Malaya got their title defence off to the worst possible start at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Sunday after being humbled by their arch-rivals, courtesy of Shahril Ishak's first-half brace and a 75th-minute header from Aleksandar Duric.
But despite his side looking lacklustre and lacking in creativity, the ex-Malaysia international was keen to shift the attention on their opponents by claiming he was not impressed by their performance, going as far as to claim they would not be worthy of a place in the final based on Saturday's showing.
"The three goals scored by Singapore were from our own mistakes," he said. "I don't think they scored through a good combination or style of play.
"Singapore were only relying on high balls and physically they are stronger. Based on their [Singapore's] performance today, I honestly don't think they will deserve to be in the final.
"We didn't deserve to lose."
While the Harimau Malaya supremo admitted his side's defending was far from satisfactory, he believes they created enough chances after the break and praised the efforts of Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, who was one of the few players who looked like threatening the Singapore defence.
"I didn't expect we would lose 3-0 tonight [Sunday]," Rajagobal added. "I don't like the score.
"It's always disappointing and frustrating to lose to a close rival. We had very sloppy defending but we played with energy and desire compared to the friendlies before [the tournament].
"After being 2-0 down, we came back stronger in the second half. We were going forward but the goal just didn't come for us - we had a few chances but we didn't take them.
"I thought Norshahrul played very well today [Saturday]."
It is now imperative for Malaysia's prospects that day pick up a win against Laos on Tuesday and Rajagobal concedes they have only themselves to blame for being in this predicament, which is similar to 2010 when they lost their opening game 5-1 to Indonesia.
"It looks like we now have to go the hard way again," he lamented. "We have no choice but to win the next two matches.
"The players have to be responsible as it is because of them we face this situation. Most importantly, we must pick up the momentum again for our next match.
"The pressure is on us but we have to accept this defeat and the reality. We now have to still be positive and prepare for the next game against Laos.
"I still have faith in my team. It will be a struggle but I am confident."
Apart from the Suzuki Cup triumph in 2010, Rajagobal also led the Malaysia Under-23 side to a gold-medal finish at the 2009 Southeast Asian Games.
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