|Striker Nguyễn Công Phuợng of Việt Nam in action during Việt Nam vs Indonesia friendly. Việt Nam are in final steps of preparation for the AFF Cup. — VNS Photo Tuấn Tú|
HÀ NỘI — Coach Nguyễn Hữu Thắng said besides peak performance, Việt Nam will need luck to win the title at the coming ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup.
The manager expressed his opinion after Việt Nam’s first win of 3-2 over Indonesia in 17 years, which was considered a good warm-up for the team prior to the most important tournament this year.
“We want to bring home the championship for the national supporters. For that purpose, we have to play at best and hope God will bless us,” Thắng said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Thắng said he was satisfied with what the players did when they leveled the results before winning the game. But he said there were mistakes that should be fixed immediately.
“I am impressed with them in the way they reacted when Indonesia went ahead twice. They were neither impatient, nor felt the heavy pressure. This is very important in football and they need to maintain this in coming official matches,” he said.
“However they still lack understanding and covering for each other. These things are necessary for any team. Now we see our disadvantages and we must correct them. My players should not make the same mistake at the AFF Cup,” he said.
Thắng also tested players during the match to find the most outstanding. There will be a final friendly match against Japan’s Avista Fukuoka on Saturday in Cần Thơ City. The team then move to HCM City before departing for the Cup, which begins on November 19 in Myanmar.
Việt Nam will play the hosts one day later, seeking a title from the final match and their predicted rivals, the reigning champions Thailand.
Việt Nam captain Lê Công Vinh yesterday said the task was difficult, as long-term arch-rivals Thailand were playing at a higher level than any squad in the region.
“Whenever the AFF Cup comes, people always talk about how to beat Thailand. But frankly, Thailand leave us behind a far distance.
“Under coach Kiatisak Senamuang they won two SEA Games titles and one AFF Cup. Thai players are equal in quality and in techniques. They are really powerful. Meanwhile, Việt Nam are in the process of rejuvenating. Coach Thắng brings new blood to the team. They need time to work well with each other,” said Vinh, who set two national records in the Indonesia match. It was his 80th cap for the national team and he scored his 49th goal, making him the top scorer in history.
However, Vinh said apart from luck, chance plays 50-50 for both sides if they meet in the knockout round. Thailand may have experienced players, but the young Vietnamese were talented and anxious for glory.
Vinh, who scored a decisive goal to push Việt Nam to the Cup’s first-ever top podium in 2008, will retire after this year.
“It is a successful year for Vietnamese football, as we have seen great achievements from the U21, men’s and women’s U19 squads and the futsal team. I hope the national team will deliver a perfect end with a title. It will also be a wonderful point to close my time at the national team,” he said. — VNS