HÀ NỘI — Coach Park Hang-seo wants the Vietnamese national side to start the year with a win against Myanmar on Tuesday in the AFF Cup.
The South Korean coach is confident the host side will beat Myanmar to finish top of Group B at Hà Nội’s Mỹ Đình Stadium.
“Happy New Year to Vietnamese people and reporters here,” said Park as he began the press briefing on January 2.
“A game against Myanmar is the opening match of Việt Nam in 2023. We want a win to have a good start for Việt Nam’s football in a year with many important tournaments. And it will ensure we are in the semi-finals as the group leader,” he said.
Việt Nam only need a draw to advance, while Mynamar are already out of the biennial tournament.
Malaysia and Singapore will face each other in Kuala Lumpur to take the other spot in the semis.
Park said he would wait to see which teams in Group A advance to the last four to formulate a plan for his side, but said any team that makes it that far is strong.
Speaking about the visiting squad, Park said Myanmar players had good technique, so if they were given space, they would play really well.
“Myanmar are under German coach Antoine Hey, who took charge of the U23s competing at the 31st SEA Games. This trainer used to work in Africa and has managed Myanmar for more than four years.
“They have used three goalkeepers in three previous matches, which was quite different from the world trend. They played with four key players while the rest took turns.
“Myanmar prefer short balls; they work well with each other in narrow space and are good in counter-attacks. However, they also have weaknesses. To date, they scored four goals and conceded six. Việt Nam will have to dig deep into their weak points,” Park said.
Attending the briefing, midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải confirmed that he had recovered 100 per cent and was ready for the task.
“I have not scored this tournament but had an assist. It is important that I am ready to play at any time,” said talented Hải, who came from the bench in previous matches.
Hải said a win over Myanmar would be a great New Year present for Vietnamese supporters.
On the other side, coach Hey said his team would play a match without pressure against the hosts, who were one of the region’s strongest sides. He said it was his first time in Việt Nam.
As Myanmar are out already, they will play free from pressure. Both coaches and players were looking forward to the game.
Hey said Myanmar would play in the absence of captain lwin, a key player. However, Myanmar are in a rejuvenation period, and young players are growing match by match. There are other good players with international experience in the team to shoulder the duty.
Hey appreciated Việt Nam, home to quality players who moved fast and assisted well.
“AFF Cup statistic speaks for everything. Việt Nam haven’t conceded, while Myanmar has let in six. Vietnamese players have quality, experience and confidence that Myanmar have not had,” said Hey.
Striker Aung Kaung Mann said playing against Việt Nam would be good for his young teammates to learn and improve their skills and knowledge. The hosts were strong, but Myanmar would try hard for a positive result.
“Việt Nam can change their tactics quickly and creatively. Their midfielders are a great link between lines and rooms for their teammates to score. Their goalkeeper is really good; I hope our team can have one like him,” said Mann.
“We have done our best but could not reach our target in previous games. In the coming match, we will do it well to make it a meaningful goodbye to the tournament,” said Mann, who praised Vietnamese midfielder Nguyễn Hoàng Đức.
“I was impressed with him since the 31st SEA Games when we played each other in the group round. His performance was really good,” he said.
In the last meet four years ago at the 2018 AFF Cup, two sides drew 0-0 in the group phase. Tuesday’s match will be live from 7.30pm on VTV channels. VNS