Players should learn to rise above pressure to achieve the best result, says Park Hang-seo

Sunday, 2022-05-22 15:02:26
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Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo speaks during a press meeting ahead of their SEA Games final match against Thailand. (Photo: VFF)
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NDO – Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo admitted that his players have been under pressure in the lead up to the SEA Games men’s football final against Thailand, but will work to handle it to achieve the best result.

“We are only a match away from the gold medal. Fans hold high expectations, and that puts pressure on the players. But in my opinion, they must learn to rise above that,” Park told reporters at a press briefing on Saturday.

Commenting on Vietnam’s opponents in the gold medal match, he said Thailand have a good playstyle and would be tough to beat.

“In the past five matches, Thailand scored 15 goals and conceded just twice. Their offensive power is great. Regarding the defensive line, the two goals conceded by Thailand only came after they got a red card in their clash against Malaysia. Therefore, it is not possible to exactly evaluate their defensive capabilities,” Park stated.

Vietnam and Thailand have met several times in previous SEA Games, with the Vietnamese side holding a poorer head-to-head record with two draws and four losses. However, Park affirmed that the past has nothing to do with the present.

“I was not Vietnam’s coach at that time, and our current players are all different. Of course, pressure exists ahead of every final match, and we need to learn to handle it. I think that people should let go of the past to focus on the present and future.”

“Playing on our home field gives us both advantages and pressures. As the head coach, I feel that too, but my responsibility is to guild the team towards overall victory,” Park said.

For his part, Thailand coach Alexander Polking stated that both Vietnam and Thailand played extra time in the semi-finals, which makes them equal into tonight’s title decider. “Both teams are tired, so I do not think there will be any obvious advantage for either.”

Thailand coach Alexander Polking speaks at the press briefing. (Photo: VFF)

However, Polking noted that Vietnam may have the upper hand thanks to cheers from 40,000 home fans throughout the 90 minutes as well as their best preparations and players. “This is a big game, with us being the underdogs. It will be a tough match for Thailand, but we will also prove that things are not so easy for Vietnam, either.”