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Coach Park hopes for first point in Saudi Arabia clash

By Lam Thoa   November 14, 2021 | 11:22 pm PT
Coach Park hopes for first point in Saudi Arabia clash
Coach Park Hang-seo in the press conference before the World Cup qualifier between Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, Hanoi, November 15, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Park Hang-seo said Vietnam have performed well in the final round of World Cup qualifiers and hoped the team would have a good result against Saudi Arabia.

"It’s quite a tough game tomorrow. We all know Saudi Arabia are topping the group. It will be really difficult for Vietnam, but we have performed well in the past games. Hopefully, we will keep it up tomorrow and earn our first point in the final round of World Cup qualifiers," Park said in the pre-match press conference Monday.

Vietnam are at the bottom of group B after five consecutive defeats. On Tuesday, the team will play Saudi Arabia in Hanoi's My Dinh National Stadium. In September, the two teams clashed in Saudi Arabia, with Vietnam losing 1-3 despite scoring first.

"The team have tried their best in the past games, but the results were not as we expected. In this game, Vietnam will continue putting in more efforts to get a better result, which is at least getting a point," Park added.

Five losses in a row have affected the players mentally and Park knows it.

"I have talked to the players. They said playing Southeast Asian teams is totally different from teams in the final World Cup qualification round. It’s obvious the players are under pressure. During the game, they also face great pressure from the opponents. Therefore, we are practicing counterattacking to make the players feel more confident. Throughout training sessions and meetings, we are adjusting our style of play and improving on the offense. I told the players to be comfortable," he said.

Park also explained why it's hard to keep a clean sheet facing stronger opponents.

"The opponents are really strong. Even though we are the weaker team, we cannot defend forever. We still have to attack. When we attack, our defense gets thinner and when they strike back, it's hard for us to stand still. These teams have excellent individuals that's why it’s difficult to keep a clean sheet."

The gap in level was mentioned multiple times by Park in the past games and he emphasized it again.

"It’s arduous to find a way to level up the players right away because that cannot be done in a day or two. If we could do that, Vietnam wouldn’t have had to wait until now to be here," Park said.

The Vietnam head coach ended the interview by giving his analysis on Saudi Arabia.

"In the first leg, they played flexibly and switched positions constantly. But we have rewatched and analyzed the match. I hope the players will remember our analysis. The wingers of Saudi Arabia often play really high, which means the space behind them is big. When they attack, they do it with big numbers. If we can counter that, we will have a big space to attack."

The game between Vietnam and Saudi Arabia will take place on Tuesday at 7 p.m. It will be reported live on VnExpress International.

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