Coach Trương Việt Hoàng is welcome by his players in the day of taking V.League 1 title. Photo 360vn.net
HÀ NỘI — Coach Trương Việt Hoàng helped Viettel take the V.League 1 title after beating Sài Gòn FC 1-0 at Thống Nhất Stadium on Sunday and he said his charges overcame a lot of pressure to secure his first league title as a manager.
“At the beginning of the tournament, we had a lot of pressure. However, over time, the pressure was gradually removed, except for Sunday's match. In the last minutes of the game, we really suffered a lot of pressure.
“Anyway, we overcame everything and this championship is completely deserved. Hà Nội had two consecutive seasons to win the V.League 1 title, but Viettel surpassed and blocked their third consecutive championship.
"I am very happy and touched because this is the effort of the whole team in the season which has ended successfully,” said Hoàng.
At the end of the event’s first leg, Viettel were in second place behind Sai Gon FC.
“I used to say that Viettel need to learn carefully the lesson of failure in the 2020 National Cup final against Hà Nội in which Viettel were the runners-up after a 2-1 loss to Hà Nội. In recent matches, my players have practised the tactics of the club very well. This victory is amazing. My players have shown a great deal of courage," said Hoàng.
Viettel won the title with a young squad in only their second season back in the top flight after several years in the lower divisions.
The victory was even sweeter for coach Hoàng as he used to play for the side when they were known as Thể Công and now the young squad have a chance to once again become a formidable force in Vietnamese football.
Coach Trương Việt Hoàng celebrates with his wife on the day Viettel won the championship. — Photo webgiaitri.vn
Talking about the league this year, Hoàng said he was impressed by the efforts to finish the season despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This victory I would like to dedicate to fans of Viettel as well as Thể Công and fans across the country who have watched and supported the team,” said Hoàng.
Industrious, dynamic midfielder
Twenty-two years ago, when Thể Công last won the national premier league in 1998, Hoàng was an industrious midfielder who played in the shadow of the legendary Nguyễn Hồng Sơn. Sơn played for the Thể Công and the Việt Nam national team as a striker and midfielder and is widely regarded as one of the country's greatest ever players.
When Thể Công won the championship, Hoàng was called up to the national team by coach Alfred Riedl, to the surprise of many.
“Hoàng faced objections at that time because fans thought that he was only called up as he was a member of Thể Công, but watching Hoàng practise and make efforts in each training session you would see exactly why coach Riedl trusted him. It wasn't until the 1998 Tiger Cup semi-final that Việt Nam defeated Thailand 3-0, including the wonderful opening goal from him, everyone admitted that Riedl was right. Hoàng played well behind Hồng Sơn,” said Vũ Tiến Thành, a former assistant of Riedl.
Few people know the full story of Hoàng’s goal against the Thai team in the 1998 Tiger Cup semi-finals. It was September 2, 1998, one day before the semi-final against Thailand, when the whole Vietnamese team was at the National Sports Training Centre in Hà Nội and no one was allowed to go out. But Hoàng was allowed to go home to have a meal with his family.
It was a meal that Hoàng has never forgotten because his father had been granted a special reprieve to leave prison for the day to eat with his family. He had been jailed for his role in the 1994 Đồng Xuân market fire and it was the first time father and son had seen each other for years.
Coach Riedl then confided that it was important for Hoàng to have family meals and he looked at it as spiritual therapy for a player he loved and believed in.
Coach Trương Việt Hoàng once played for Thể Công (now Viettel). — Photo plo.vn
Missed with Hải Phòng, crowned with Viettel
From 2014 to 2019, Hoàng, who was born in Hà Nội in 1975, was head coach of Hải Phòng FC and led the team to second place in the V.League 1 2016, only behind Hà Nội FC on goal difference.
Hoàng left Hải Phòng to move to Viettel last year.
As head coach, Hoàng had to find a way his young squad could win and this season, they managed to grind out several gritty 1-0 wins.
On Sunday, Viettel were crowned at Thống Nhất Stadium, to the surprise of few, as the officials of the Việt Nam Football Federation and Việt Nam Professional Football Joint-stock Company were present at Thống Nhất Stadium, not Cẩm Phả Stadium where Hà Nội and Quảng Ninh Coal were playing.
That was also a meaningful coronation for a coach and a team that say less, do more and take football seriously. — VNS