Tuesday , February 7 2023

Coach Park takes blame for AFF Cup title loss


Head coach Park Hang-seo blamed himself after Vietnam was eliminated from the AFF Cup finals by a 0-1 loss to Thailand.

“First and foremost, I want to congratulate Thailand and coach Polking. I really wanted to win this title as a gift for the fans, but I couldn’t do it,” Park said at the post-match press conference on Monday. “I’m so sorry for that.”

“The result today was not as expected, because I’m simply not good enough. For the players, they tried their best, especially when they had to play as visitors,” the 65-year-old coach said. “I hope the fans will continue supporting them instead of criticizing them.”

After a 2-2 draw at home in the first leg of the finals last week, Vietnam needed to win or draw 3-3 or more to win the title.

Although Park made a few changes in the second leg, Vietnam still struggled to find the net.

In the 25th minute, things got more challenging when Thailand’s captain scored from a long-range strike. After the concession, Park subbed in his best attackers to pursue a goal, but Vietnam failed to turn the score around.

With the defeat, Park – whose tenure with the national team has now ended, did not do what many had hoped: say goodbye to Vietnam with a title.

This is the second time Park’s squad has been defeated by Thailand in the AFF cup. They were eliminated at last year’s tournament by an 0-2 loss in the semifinals.

“I don’t know if Vietnam can beat Thailand after I leave,” Park told the press conference. “This will be the job of the next coach. But I believe Vietnamese football will continue to thrive. Starting tomorrow, I’m no longer the head coach of Vietnam, but I will always be a fan that supports Vietnam’s national and U23 teams. I hope we will hold fond memories of each other forever.”

Coach Park Hang-seo walks past the AFF Cup trophy after Vietnam lose 0-1 to Thailand in the second leg of the final on January 16, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Coach Park Hang-seo walks past the AFF Cup trophy after Vietnam lose 0-1 to Thailand in the second leg of the final on January 16, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Looking back on his five-year journey with Vietnamese football, Park said he had received a lot of love and support from Vietnamese fans, even though he still had many shortcomings and weaknesses.

“What I regret most right now is that I can no longer accompany the players after five years of joy and challenges together. From tomorrow, I will no longer be with these players. The more I think about it, the more heartbroken I am,” he said.

Park said that he’s now suffering two painful feelings: one is the sadness of leaving the team after five years, and the other is the feeling of disappointment and frustration after losing in the final round of the tournament.

“It’s true that I have both feelings. Since the team couldn’t win the title, I blame myself and I want to know why and what the team is lacking. But I also bear the sadness of saying goodbye to the team.”

The coach admitted that he had many shortcomings, but also said he considers that a fact to be accepted. “I have to find a way to overcome it myself and keep moving forward,” he said.

When asked about his future plans, Park said he can’t think about anything else right now.

“My next step will be decided only after January 31, when my contract with VFF expires. At that time, I will discuss future work with my agency and family. But it will surely be football-related,” he said.

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