January 8 – Former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, now in charge of the Philippines, expressed his pride at his side’s performance against hotly fancied South Korea in their first-ever appearance at the Asian Cup Finals on Monday.
Eriksson’s minnows came within 23 minutes of earning a memorable goalless draw in their Group C opener at the Al Maktoum Stadium on Monday, only to fall to a super strike from Hwang Uijo.
“We played well today against a very strong South Korean team. I think we showed that this country can play football,” said Eriksson who signed a six-month deal in October, the 70-year-old Swede’s first job in management since being sacked by Chinese side Shenzhen in June, 2017.
The Philippines’ defensive organisation not only frustrated the Asian giants for large parts of the match but it has also given them hope for their next games against China and Kyrgyzstan.
“I think we played one of our best games against ones of the best teams. We created chances against them so that gives us hope,” said Eriksson said. “In the next two games in the group, we can do something even better. We may have lost today, but the performance has boosted our confidence. I spoke to the players after the game, the mood is good. They know that they did a good job.”
But he admitted that his team must try to play more positive football in their next games.
“Today, in the second half, we went deeper and deeper and deeper and at the end we were just outside our own box. I want to avoid that if it’s possible in our next games. In the end, we were very tired today. We had to run a lot, so I want to see if we can keep the ball better against China in our next game.”
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