Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo has affirmed that his side are fully prepared for their 2020 AFC U23 Championship campaign in Thailand. Dtinews reports.
Speaking at a Group D press conference in Buriram, Thailand on January 9, Park said: “Stress is inevitable for the players ahead of major tournaments. What’s important is that we help them to overcome the pressure they’re under. Up to present, Vietnam U23s are 100% ready for the opening clash against the United Arab Emirates (UAE).”
The UAE are no longer an unknown opposition to Park’s Vietnamese teams, as the two sides clashed with each other at the 18th Asian Games as well as playing out a friendly in Ho Chi Minh City. Most recently, the UAE national team, with many U23 players in their squad, lost 0-1 to their Vietnamese opponents in the 2022 World Cup Asian qualifiers. Thus explaining why Park was not surprised to receive the question “What do you think about the comment of head of the UAE U23 delegation saying that they have grasped all the information they need about Vietnam U23s?”
Concerning the AFC’s comment hailing Vietnam U23s as the “dark horse” of the tournament, Park stated that all the 16 participants are strong teams, and any of them could be the candidates to take a place at the Tokyo 2020.
“In Vietnam’s group, all the opponents are very strong and got through the group stage in previous tournaments. We will also strive to survive the group stage,” the 61-year-old coach stated.
For his part, the UAE U23s coach, Maciej Skorza, modestly said: “We respect Vietnam U23s and other teams in Group D. We will maintain optimal focus for each match in the group stage before thinking of the following rounds.”
The Group D opener between Vietnam U23s and UAE U23s is set to take place at Buriram Stadium on January 10. In their last training session for such an important match this afternoon, Park decided to say no to reporters, instead of giving them the first 15 minutes as usual.