HA NOI (VNS)— A win in the V-League opening round was not a good start for the former champions SHB Da Nang.
Currently, SHB Da Nang have not won in three matches, earning only five points, and have now dropped out of the top five.
Today they will welcome a large obstacle when they play Quang Ninh Coal, who are the V-League newcomers and are flying high with recent persuasive performances.
"We are having problems in the front line. Gaston Merlo cannot play because of an injury, meaning that we lost an important link in the chain. Meanwhile, Mamic Bojan needs time to integrate with the team, as he does not speak enough Vietnamese. The Serbian is 32 and not as strong as what we need," said coach Le Huynh Duc.
"Local strikers, such as Ha Minh Tuan, Phan Duc Le and Nguyen Van Thanh, are still inexperienced and need time to prove their talent."
The coach, who was a member of the best generation of Viet Nam football, also admitted that the largest problem remains misunderstandings by players on the field.
"It was their playing style in a team sport. They do not talk and discuss with each other. Da Nang players are people of few words. They do not talk with teammates usually, so they lose connection which leads to poor support for each other. I have spent time to improve the matter," Duc said.
According to Duc, the three-time Golden Ball winner, personal mistakes also contributed to the team's unexpected results.
Duc said goalie Nguyen Thanh Binh played a key role in losing a goal of Da Nang to Ninh Binh last week in their 1-1 draw.
Regarding his rival team, Duc said Quang Ninh are the ‘dark horse' of the league, who are at their peak.
"It is their V-League debut, but we will not look down on them. My players are asked to concentrate on the match to win. We have problems with the forward, but I have my plans," Duc said.
Quang Ninh are second in the ranking table, with two wins and one draw.
They have three players in the Team of the Week voted by Goal, a high-profiled football website's Vietnamese version. Among them, Xuan Ngoc is even listed among ASEAN's top five by Southeast Asian Goal editors.
All of them played strongly to lead Quang Ninh to a historic 3-0 win over Dong Tam Long An last week.
However, they are having an internal conflict as players have not been paid for several months, and they are planning to go on strike.
Elsewhere, host Ha Noi T&T will play Hai Phong after one week's rest to take part in the AFC Champions League in the capital city.
Hung Vuong An Giang will face top-ranked Thanh Hoa. Additionally, Ninh Binh will welcome Dong Tam Long An, whose coach, Ngo Quang Sang, is also on the verge of losing his position.
Quang Nam will play two-time champions Hoang Anh Gia Lai. Also, Becamex Binh Duong will host Dong Nai. — VNS