Vietnamese players and coach practise at the Quảng Ninh Province's Cẩm Phả Stadium ahead of their clash with Australia in the Tokyo Olympics qualifier play-off match. Photo vff.org.vn
HÀ NỘI Coach Mai Đức Chung has set four targets for his Vietnamese players in today’s return leg against Australia in the Tokyo Olympics qualifier play-off in Quảng Ninh Province.
Chung said he knew it was difficult to score against Australia because of the big gap in quality between two sides, which has been proven through the results of their meetings, especially the first leg last week.
However, he said believed his players are improving.
“Previously, we often lost to them from eight to nine goals. It shows that we are growing up and this progress should be pushed stronger,” said Chung at the pre-match news conference.
“In this match, my players are asked to complete four targets: no cards, no injuries, limiting the number of conceded goals and scoring a goal.
“Playing against powerful Australia who are world No 7, we must defend well and we will also try to create attacks if possible and fulfil our targets,” he said.
Việt Nam lost 5-0 to Australia in the first leg in Newcastle, with the hosts having 70 per cent of possession and 28 shots at goal while Chung’s side could manage only seven.
In their last six meetings, Việt Nam have conceded 34 goals and scored none.
Speaking about his players in the first leg match, Chung said they tried their best and the coaches were pleased with their performance, despite the big loss which effectively shut the door on any hopes of Olympic qualification.
“We knew their strength but only when we faced them did we understand how strong they were and the difference in level between the two teams,” Chung said.
“They beat us by five goals but my players played well with high spirit and I felt good about them. In the second leg, we will continue with the counter-attack tactic. The players should pay more attention to their attacks. I found their defenders have good height but sometimes they leave big spaces behind them. We will dig deep on this weak point. And with local supporters, I hope we will have a better result.”
Sharing her coach’s opinion, midfielder Nguyễn Bích Thùy said it was extremely difficult for Việt Nam to overturn the deficit because Australia were much better in terms of physique, tactics, and shape.
However, her team had learnt a lot from the game which also saw Việt Nam create several threatening opportunities, she said.
In today's match, Chung will likely give a chance to his young players with an eye on the future.
He said hoped that in the near future, Vietnamese players would have the chance to compete abroad so their skills would be improved while overseas Vietnamese players would return home and contribute to their homeland to lift quality of the national team.
On another side, coach Ante Milicic said Việt Nam have gradually progressed and narrowed the gap with the upper group in the rankings. The hosts were a well-organised team who would give the visitors many difficulties, he said.
But Australia would show their best performance and try to avoid mistakes like in the first leg and hope to grab an Olympic slot, he added. VNS