Toshiya Miura has claimed his Vietnam side cannot afford anything less than a win in their 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup Group A meeting with Laos on Tuesday evening.
The Vietnamese opened their campaign last Saturday in disappointing fashion after throwing away a lead twice to draw 2-2 with Indonesia, despite largely dominating proceedings at the My Dinh National Stadium.
They will be hoping for better luck against a Laos side that fell to a heavy 4-1 loss to Philippines in Saturday’s other match, and Miura admits his charges cannot afford to drop any more points if they are to qualify for the semi-finals.
“I am not that familiar with the Laos team but it certainly will not be an easy match for us,” he told Vietnam+.
“The first priority for us is to claim the three points, but after that, we also have to factor in the various aspects that could decide qualification, such as goal difference and number of goals scored.
“In the game against Indonesia, our opponents only had two really dangerous chances yet they managed to hit the back of the net twice.
“So in training, I have tried to get the players to be more focused during the game and have more communication.”
It certainly could have been a victory for Vietnam against Garuda had it not been for a costly error from goalkeeper Tran Nguyen Manh, who let a tame shot from Samsul Arif slip through his legs with just six minutes remaining for their opponents’ second equaliser.
Nonetheless, Miura refused to blame the Song Lam Nghe An custodian and insists he would not necessarily be dropped, although he will be forced into at least one change after left-back Nguyen Xuan Thanh was injured against the Indonesians.
“With regards to Manh, anyone can make mistakes,” the Japanese tactician added. “It is however important to do better in the future.
“However, in the case of Xuan Thanh, he picked up and injury and I will be forced to make a change to my starting XI.”
Meanwhile, Laos are already facing an uphill struggle to qualify following their heavy loss to the Azkals.
Nonetheless, Thim Xad boss David Booth claims his side are not giving up in their prospects just yet.
“I don’t think the players are necessarily under a lot of pressure,” he said.
“We realised our mistakes and the problems we had from the first game. We were still able to create chances so we hope to get ourselves back in shape and see what happens.
“The first game was very disappointing for us and we hope to have a stronger performance against Vietnam.
“We know it will be difficult but we hope to have a good game.”