Michael Essien, Persib Bandung coach under pressure in Indonesia
Michael Essien's Persib Bandung may be unbeaten in Indonesia Liga 1 so far this season, but there is pressure on coach Djadjang Nurdjaman ahead of Wednesday's trip to Bali United.
The big-spending team slipped down into fifth in the league over the weekend but could move into second with three points at the nation's favourite beach destination. Failure to do so could spell trouble.
Fans have complained about the team's pedestrian style of play, with just eight goals in seven games. As well as unconvincing wins, there has also been the throwing away of points late in games.
Against PS TNI and Borneo, Persib conceded last-minute goals that turned victories into draws.
"We should be top of the table," said Umuh Muchrar, Persib manager, who added that he sympathised with the fans' feelings.
"If there is a coach who does not want to be criticisied, then he should not be a coach.
"I hope that in Bali there will be an improvement because the coach can be evaluated on that game."
Umuh has also been vocal on the performances of the team's two big-name imports Essien and Carlton Cole. Earlier in the month, Umuh claimed that playing with Carlton Cole, the former England striker has yet to score and has looked out of sorts on the pitch, was akin to playing with 10 men. There have been reports that the ex-West Ham man could soon be on his way out of the club.
Essien has been more involved, having scored two goals, but the former Real Madrid and Chelsea midfielder did not escape criticism either.
Umuh was unhappy that against Borneo, with Persib leading 2-1, Essien insisted on taking a second-half penalty instead of the designated kicker. Essien then proceeded to blast the kick over the bar.
Had that gone in, Persib would be two points behind PSM instead of four.
PSM moved two points clear at the top, despite being held to a 1-1 draw at Gresik United.
Komarudin put the hosts ahead eight minutes into the second half. But a late equaliser from Rizky Pellu earned the leaders a point.
Madura United slipped down into fourth, thanks to a 0-0 draw at Sriwijaya. Former Nigeria international Peter Odemwingie failed to score for only the third game this season. But the ex-Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion winger is still joint top of the scoring charts with five so far.
PS TNI and Arema both moved above Madura to second and third in the table respectively, thanks to home wins over Persela and Mitra Kukar.
Didier Zokora played the full 90 as the poor run of form of Semen Padang continued with a 1-0 loss at Bhayangkara. One point from the last four games has put the West Sumatran club down in 14th, just two places above the relegation zone.
Asian expert John Duerden is the author of Lions and Tigers: Story of Football in Singapore and Malaysia.Twitter: @JohnnyDuerden.