Coach Park praises players, concedes mistakes after Iraq defeat

By Anh Khoa, Bao Lam   January 9, 2019 | 08:20 am GMT+7
Coach Park praises players, concedes mistakes after Iraq defeat
Head coach Park motivates his players during the Asian Cup group stage match with Iraq on Tuesday. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Khoa

Coach Park Hang-seo was disappointed with 2-3 loss against Iraq, but praised a “great job” by his players.

"Although we lost the match, I think the players did a great job and showed their best. The players of Iraq have better skill and stamina, but Vietnam played well," Park said in post-match interview.

Vietnam put on an impressive footballing display against a formidable opponent, taking the lead twice. But Iraq used their advantages of speed, physical strength and skills to equalize; and claimed victory from a free kick, with just three minutes left.

"It’s unfortunate that we let them score at such a sensitive time like that. A few players lost their concentration and led to that free kick. Our goalkeeper seemed to be standing in the wrong position. We need more practice for this kind of situation," Park said.

Park's hopes for four points in the group stage from Iraq and Yemen have been belied by this defeat and forced him to change his calculation.

"We need to get one point from Iran in the upcoming game. It’s clearly true that they are on another level, but we will study them carefully and let’s see what happens next," he said.

Striker Nguyen Cong Phuong, who helped earn Vietnam's an own goal and scored another, motivated his teammates after the game.

"It’s ok to lose the first game, because we still have two more ahead. The team will try their best," Phuong said.

Iraq head coach Srecko Katanec gives instructions for the team. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Khoa.

Iraq head coach Srecko Katanec gives instructions for the team. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Khoa

On the other side, Iraq head coach Srecko Katanec showed his respect for Vietnam after the game.

"Iraq respects Vietnam because they possess many skilled players and great fighting spirit. In Iraq, people think that Vietnam is an easy opponent and expect a 4 to 5-0 win. But I never think like them.

"After this game, I have even more respect for Vietnam. They have run and attacked tirelessly in the whole match," Katanec said.

Vietnam will face the strongest team of group D, Iran, on January 12 in Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi at 6 p.m. (Hanoi time).

 
 
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