Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) midfielder Gary Steven Robbat hailed the influence of head coach Ulisses Morais after ending an injury-hit year on a high note as the Malaysian champions sealed a league and cup double by beating Kedah 2-0 in the Malaysia Cup final on Saturday night.
Gary's knee injury sidelined him for most of the domestic season, and he didn't make an appearance until September when JDT defeated Selangor in the Malaysia Cup.
Injury struck the unfortunate Malaysia international again on Saturday when he was forced off with a hamstring injury in the 60th minute. But by that point, JDT were 1-0 up and well on their way to a historic first Malaysia Cup title.
Gary admitted that the belief shown by Morais had helped him as he tentatively made his way back to full fitness before a perfect end to the season at the Shah Alam Stadium.
"I'm very happy because it's the first time in my life to win the Malaysia Cup," Gary told The New Straits Times.
"The coach told me before the game that I was going to start. I started in the league game [against Kedah a week earlier], and he said I will start again in the final, so I was not surprised.
"I was injured for the first six months of the season and when I recovered I tried to make my way into the team. The coach trusted me and let me play a few games. Some games I came on in the second half, so I have to thank the coach for giving me a chance."
Meanwhile, Kedah FC's head coach Nidzam Adzha Yusof admits he is ready to step aside if the club wishes to bring in a more experienced figure to lead the team.
Nidzam took charge in March of this year and led the club to an FA Cup victory in May.
Combined with a Malaysia Cup final appearance, this represents a decent season, but Nidzam is not convinced that he is the right man to take the club forward in 2018, having taken the job "reluctantly" when Tan Cheng Hoe left to become assistant coach of the national team.
"I have a contract for another year but I leave it to the management to decide for next season," Nidzam said.
"I am in the process of learning and I need more time to carry this responsibility and despite winning the FA Cup, I think Kedah, as an elite team, need a coach with more experience.
"I reluctantly took on this job. It was only with the support of everyone from players to management that I decided to take on this job."
Kedah finished a disappointing fourth in the Malaysia Super League, with only nine wins in 22 matches.