|With the formations introduced by new coach Gong Oh-kyun (2nd left), the U23 national team is expected to keep their opponents at the AFC U23 Asian Championship on their toes. Photo VFF|
UAE — A week on from inheriting the U23 national team from South Korean compatriot Park Hang-seo, Gong Oh-kyun has started to put his mark on the squad ahead of the final round of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Asian Championship, which will take place in Uzbekistan from June 1 to 19.
Switching from three to four at the back, to rely on a more traditional style of attack than the fast counters of before, new winds are blowing under Gong’s management.
And for the 47-year-old Korean, it's that promising attacking potential that has driven this change.
“The U23 players are really good at attacking, so I believe that my tactics will be suitable for them to shine,” Gong said.
“I’m confident in my players. I also gained a lot of experience with coach Park and his assistant Lee Young-jin. We met and had dinner before the team went to Dubai, they also gave me a lot of advice.”
Despite new changes, the players seem to have adapted well to their new coach.
“I strongly believe in the coach,” said defender Lương Duy Cương.
“We are playing in a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 formation. In the past, we played close to each other, but now we can be much wider. I wasn't used to it at first, but now I enjoy it.
“A new coach with a lot of new ideas. It’s quite interesting, as this is the first time that we’ve played with these tactics.
“We will do our best to go as far as possible at the upcoming tournament.”
The AFC U23 Asian Championship will be the first competition for Gong as manager, after taking over the reins from Park.
The AFC event will feature 16 teams. The tournament was initially scheduled to be held in January but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be the fifth edition of the tournament.
The 16 teams have been drawn into four groups of four teams each. The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockouts.
Việt Nam are in Group C alongside Thailand, Malaysia, and South Korea, the 2020 champions.
Việt Nam will face Thailand on June 2, South Korea on June 5, and they will finish their group qualification with the match against Malaysia on June 8. — VNS