Vietnam got much to do before Malaysia clash: coach Park

By Lam Thoa   May 18, 2022 | 01:18 am PT
Vietnam got much to do before Malaysia clash: coach Park
Coach Park Hang-seo in a press conference before SEA Games 31 semifinals between Vietnam and Malaysia, May 18, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Coach Park Hang-seo said Vietnam still got a lot to improve on, especially player mentality ahead of the SEA Games 31 semifinals with Malaysia.

At a press conference Wednesday, Malaysia coach Brad Maloney hoped to settle the score within 90 minutes.

Park said he also wants that to happen. "It would be really nice if the game could finish within 90 minutes. But it's football and we cannot predict anything."

Park responded to Maloney calling Vietnam the strongest team in SEA Games this year.

"Vietnam are in the semifinals and there's still time to work towards the goal of becoming the strongest team. But for now, the most important thing is the semifinals. We have to win to go to the final. Therefore, it’s too early to say which team are the strongest. I don't care what other coaches say. The important thing is to focus and play a good game against Malaysia," he said.

Vietnam advanced to the semifinals as the top team of group A with 10 points and haven’t conceded after four games. However, their performances were not convincing, especially when playing against defensive teams like Philippines and Myanmar. After these games, Park admitted that the players were too eager and lacked composure, which led to many inaccurate passes.

"We cannot say that the U23 team are young, because the real reason is that they haven't got much playing time in the domestic league, which made them inexperienced. Can't fix the pass accuracy in a day or two. We don't have enough time to fix their technical problems. But we were able to improve their mentality to make them more confident and avoid committing mistakes like in previous games," he added.

Park said Malaysia usually play with the 3-4-3 formation, of which two center-backs often take part in the attacks if they have space and Vietnam will have to pay attention to this.

"I don’t know which formation they will use for this game, so we have to prepare many plans. Take a look at their stats. They scored nine and conceded six. That showed Malaysia’s ability to score, but they also conceded 1.8 goals on average per game. Therefore, to guarantee victory, we must defend well, avoid conceding and find a way to score," Park added.

While Malaysia only use U23 players, many said Vietnam are depending on three overage players to win games. Half of the goals in the group stage were scored by these players. However, Park affirmed that he doesn’t build the team around these players.

"I don’t agree with people saying that Vietnam are depending on three overage players. Those three are doing a great job in mentoring and influencing the team, but we are not completely depending on them. And I believe they will play even better to lead others to victory."

Vietnam will play Malaysia in Viet Tri Stadium, Phu Tho on Thursday at 7 p.m. The game will be reported live on VnExpress International.

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