Coach Park Hang-seo said he was under huge pressure before SEA Games men’s football final between Vietnam and Thailand on Sunday night.
It was a balanced game, but the hosts came out on top with the winning goal scored by Nham Manh Dung in the 83rd minute to help Vietnam defend the gold medal.
“SEA Games mean a lot to me. Two years ago, I coached the U23 team to win the first men’s football gold for Vietnam after 60 years. This time, SEA Games are hosted in Vietnam and I feel responsible because the expectations from the fans are high. The players have tried their best. This is also my final game with the U23 team so I was under serious stress before it happened. I want to thank all players and the fans,” Park said after the game at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi.
Park started coaching the U23 team in 2018 and took them all the way to the final of AFC U23 Championship in China. After that, he also led them to the semifinals of Asian Games and won two more SEA Games gold medals. After the 31st SEA Games, Park will stop coaching the U23 team to focus on the national team. His next target is the 2022 AFF Cup, which Vietnam won in 2018.
“We were eliminated by Thailand in AFF Cup last year. We will try our best in this year’s tournament,” he said.
About the rivalry between Vietnam and Thailand, Park said: “Rivalry happens everywhere in football, and it’s good for the development in the region.”
Ten days after SEA Games, Vietnam will take part in the U23 Asian Cup and they will meet Thailand again in the opening game. Replacing Park in the U23 team will be Gong Oh-kyun, another South Korean coach.
“Each coach has a different way of managing and operating the team. I don’t know how the team will play with the new coach. But I think young players are not having many opportunities in domestic competitions. So the players who attended the recent U23 tournaments will continue to be the core, as they already gained experience from recent tournaments.”
Park also said he will support Gong by sharing with him about culture, pressure from fans and the media in Vietnam.
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