Park Hang-seo: “The players did their best but still need to improve a lot”

Friday, 2020-01-17 10:27:31
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Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo. (Photo: VFF)
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NDO – Vietnam coach Park Hang-seo lauded the concerted efforts made by the players in their 1-2 defeat against DPR Korea at the 2020 AFC U23 Championship on January 16, but emphasised that they still require a lot of improvement.

>>> Vietnam crash out of 2020 AFC U23 Championship after defeat against DPR Korea

The Golden Stars headed into their last Group D match with a three-point ambition, and came close to realising it after forward Nguyen Tien Linh gave them an early lead by slotting in a goal from close range.

However, an own goal by keeper Bui Tien Dung and a late winner by Ri Chung-gyu from the penalty spot forced Vietnam U23s to concede their first loss of the tournament, which also meant that they missed out on a place in the knockout round.

“Two years ago, we clinched an overall runner-up finish. This year, we drew two and lost one after three group matches. Obviously, this was a poor result that disappointed home fans,” Park told reporters after the clash. “I take the largest responsibility for this defeat. The players tried their best, but reality has shown that they still need a lot of improvement.”

The Republic of Korea tactician said the most positive point during Vietnam’s 2020 AFC U23 campaign was that the new players demonstrated great efforts and a strong fighting spirit. These players will possibly be called up to the national team in the future, he added.

Touching on the mistake committed by goalkeeper Tien Dung, Park stated: “I am not satisfied with such a situation. But I know that Tien Dung feels even more tormented. He should overcome this difficult moment and strive to become more mature.”

“This year, the U23 team will not participate in any other tournament, so we will focus on the national team. We will look towards the match against Malaysia at the end of March. They currently have nine points, and we will try to earn a victory,” he said.

Forward Nguyen Tien Linh (no. 22) scores Vietnam's only goal against DPR Korea on January 16. (Photo: VFF)

Sharing his feeling after the Thursday clash, forward Nguyen Tien Linh, who had scored Vietnam’s only goal against DPR Korea, said: “It is really difficult to talk about a defeat. But it is time Vietnam had to cope with such a case.

“In a match, anyone can make mistakes. The whole team tried their best. I want to apologise to the fans. In this tournament, all teams have their own strengths. Our group was fairly even, and the opponents were all strong teams,” he stated.