Wednesday , May 29 2024

Thailand always number one team in Southeast Asia: Thai coach

Thailand head coach Mano Polking said Thailand were the best football team in Southeast Asia after they defeated Vietnam to win the AFF Cup on Monday.

“This title is important. We are always the number one team and want to go beyond the level of Southeast Asia,” Polking said at the post-match conference.

“Thailand need to prove their worth at bigger tournaments like the Asian Cup, where there are stronger teams like Japan, South Korea or UAE. We need to try harder and improve more,” he added.

The Brazilian coach said he has a great squad and praised the mentality of the players. He mentioned captain Theerathon Bunmathan and called him the best player in the tournament. Polking also called for further investment in Thai football to improve the Thai League for the benefit of the national team.

With two away goals in the first leg and home advantage in the second, Polking didn’t make any changes to the lineup.

Bunmathan opened the scoring for Thailand in the 25th minute with a long-range strike.

The goal helped Thailand control the rest of the game and they were able to neutralize all threats from Vietnam in the remaining time.

“We had a great plan for the second leg,” Polking said.

“Vietnam needed to win to become champions. Of course, they could have also won the title if they drew 3-3 against us, but that kind of score is unlikely to happen in a final. We controlled the game and tried to score. The opening goal helped Thailand players become more confident while Vietnam had to score two more. This was not a great game, but it was a laudable performance from the players. We got what we wanted, which is victory,” he added.

Polking also repeated a sentiment he has expressed before: that he will miss Vietnam’s head coach Park Hang-seo, who will part ways with Vietnam after this tournament. The Thai gaffer said he wished Park all the best on his next journey.

“He’s a great coach. I wish him luck and success in the next chapter. I appreciate his passion for football and his dedication to Vietnamese football,” Polking added.

The overall 3-2 win against Vietnam in the final helped Thailand win their seventh AFF Cup title. For Polking, it was his second regional title.

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