We showed that this country can play football, says Philippines coach Eriksson
Philippines' coach Sven-Goran Eriksson (left) meets South Korea's coach Paulo Bento (AFP)
Dubai - Eriksson admitted that his team must try to play positive football in their next games.
By Rituraj Borkakoty
Published: Mon 7 Jan 2019, 11:00 PM
Last updated: Tue 8 Jan 2019, 6:06 PM
Sven-Goran Eriksson's heart swelled with pride after Philippines came tantalizingly close to earning a memorable draw against South Korea in their Group C opener of the Asian Cup at the Al Maktoum Stadium on Monday.
South Korea's Asian Games hero Hwang Uijo's wonderful goal in the 67th minute eventually broke debutants Philippines hearts, but their Swedish coach had reasons to celebrate.
"We played well today against a very strong South Korean team. I think we showed that this country can play football," the former England coach said at the post-match press conference.
Their 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," 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 Eriksson admitted that his team must try to play 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," he said.
"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. It will be good for the heart of the coach as well!"
South Korea coach Paulo Bento was pleased with the hard-fought win. "It was a tough game. We tried to dominate and control the game. But they had a lot of players behind the ball," the Portuguese coach said.
"We had some difficulty to find the space. But after the goal, we had more space. We had chances to score again and at the end, it was an important victory for us."