|Former MLS star Lee Nguyễn has yet to hit top form for HCM City FC in the V.league 1 this season. Photo thethao247.vn
HCM CITY Despite making a big splash with major signings including former US national team player Lee Nguyễn, HCM City FC have had a poor start to the V.League 1 season.
The team currently sit 10th in the table with three points in three matches and perhaps most concerning is star player Nguyễn's struggles in his two matches.
“First, his stamina is not ensured and this is a critical issue,” football pundit Vũ Mạnh Hải told thethao247.vn.
“After quarantine, his training was not fully complete, so on the pitch, he could neither move much not nor show any skill.
“If the fitness is not there, it will lead to poor technical play and work rate. That’s why Lee Nguyễn has underperformed,” Hải said.
According to Hải, the development of the V.League 1 is also another reason why the 35 is facing difficulties.
“Although he used to play football in Việt Nam, that was a long time ago. When he returned, the Vietnamese players' expertise has improved a lot so when being pressed, he will face many challenges.
“Overall, I think age has affected him a lot because Lee is already 35. He is not weak yet, but his physical ability has been decreasing. Without good preparation and training, along with lifestyle problems, it’s tough for him to perform his best.
“That's why fans are very disappointed after watching the former MLS star's performance at the beginning of the season,” He added.
City's only victory was the match against Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh at home at Thống Nhất Stadium on January 24.
They face huge tests over the coming days, with the HCM City derby today against Sai Gon FC and a match with heavyweights Ha Noi FC on Tuesday.
The two blockbuster matches are a chance for Lee Nguyễn to show his quality and prove the early-season struggles are nothing to be concerned about, or they could mark an early end to HCM City's title ambitions. VNS