Sports

Việt Nam performs well despite loss, says Troussier

Việt Nam’s coach Philippe Troussier praised his players’ performance despite a defeat in the Asian Cup opener against Japan and said they would do better job in the second game in Qatar.

Football

326742 vn | FDI Việt Nam
Vietnamese players thank supporters after the match with Japan in the Asian Cup’s Group D on Sunday in Doha. Việt Nam lost 4-2 but were praised for their performance. VNA/

Theo Vietnamnews

Photos Hoàng Linh

HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam’s coach Philippe Troussier praised his players’ performance despite a defeat in the Asian Cup opener against Japan, and said they would do better in the second game in Qatar.

The young side of Việt Nam made their Japanese rivals work hard before bouncing back from an early scare to win 4-2 at the Group D clash on January 14 at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha.

Troussier went into the game against a side that had scored 33 times in their previous nine matches with the Frenchman hoping to minimise any lasting damage to his side’s prospects of advancing to the next round, and the performance left him placated.

“I’m satisfied because I want to consider this match against Japan as part of the process to qualify,” he said. “It’s not a knockout match, if we win or we lose, it’s clear the competition is not finished for us, or for Japan.”

“The fact that we scored two goals could be an important detail because on paper, we are supposed to finish in the top three and we are prepared to finish in the top three.

“If we finish in the top three, qualification must come from the small details. Today, we got no yellow cards, no red cards and we scored two goals. I prefer to lose 4-2 than 2-0. This is what we needed.”

The 68-year-old strategist added that since he started working in Việt Nam, he has always reminded players to think beyond Southeast Asia and make leading teams, even the top 10 in Asia, respect Việt Nam.

“I always ask the players to do better when they have the ball. Even though we lost today, I want the whole team to recognise the positive things we have done and continue to improve for the future. They need to maintain confidence and positivity to prepare for the second match against Indonesia. Everyone understands that that is the key match, deciding a lot on whether the Vietnamese team will continue or not,” he said.

Southeast Asia’s No. 1 team received appreciation from not only their coaching board but also respect from the Japanese manager and players.

326741 vn1 | FDI Việt Nam
Philippe Troussier (centre) comforts his players after the match. He believes Việt Nam will do better in the next game on January 19.

At the post-match press conference, coach Hajime Moriyasu confirmed that it was a tough game for the four-time champions, who are one of the tournament’s favourites.

“I know people in Japan wanted to see a game where we overcome our opponents with great power, but opening games in tournaments are always difficult and that’s what we saw today,” the 2022 AFC Coach of the Year was quoted as saying on the-afc.com.

“Coach Troussier managed the Việt Nam players very well against us tactically and that made it difficult in the first half. At halftime, we had some difficulties in our defensive roles so I had to make a few adjustments with my players,” he said.

“When we lost the lead in the first half the players were very calm, they knew they had the whole 90 minutes to play for the win. They managed to do that in the end of the first half. They were very focused and united as a team in order to get the victory in the first game of this tournament,” he said.

Meanwhile, MVP of the match Takumi Minamino, who scored twice along with an assist, admitted he was “surprised” by Vietnamese players.

“I’ve been playing against Việt Nam since I was young so I know how good a team they can be,” said the former Liverpool forward who is now at Monaco. “But it wasn’t just in defence, they were really good in attack as well. I was surprised by how good they were.”

Việt Nam will meet Indonesia next on Friday while Japan will play Iraq.

Theo Vietnamnews