Dooley: Azkals mentally strong, motivated, ready for Indonesia

ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 21, 2016 06:19 PM
Dooley:  Azkals mentally strong, motivated, ready for INA
"The motivation is there, the players look fit. The players look ready."

Saturday night, the Philippine Azkals opened their 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup campaign against Singapore, and it turned out to be a story of missed opportunites and squandered chances for the home side. 

With Singapore down to ten men late in the first half, and with solid chances in the second half, the Azkals ultimately were unable to find a conversion that would have given them an all-important win and three points in the tournament. 

After close games like those, it's easy for players to come out heavily disappointed and eventually end up losing their heart for the duration of the tournament, but according to head coach Thomas Dooley, his boys are in fact, quite the opposite. 

When asked about how the Azkals were mentally after their scorless draw against Singapore, Dooley, without hesitation, said that they were "very strong."

The mental strength was a result of a talk between Dooley and his players following the two tough losses that the Azkals had against Bahrain and North Korea in international friendly competition. 

"We had a long conversation before the tournament, after the last two games against Bahrain and North Korea about what kind of team we have to have to be successful," Dooley said. "it’s all about positive environment, positive energy and positive spirit, and I can see that."

Dooley added that he began seeing changes before the Azkals big win over Kygyzstan and even after the result against Singapore last Saturday. 

"Before the Kyrgyzstan game, I could see a huge difference and even after the game against Singapore, the players were a little bit frustrated, of course, and upset that they didn’t score a goal and we didn’t win that game, but nothing has changed."

According to the former American national team skipper, whatever the result had been against Singapore, the Azkals are in must win situation against Indonesia. 

"Even if we lost to Singapore, even if we won against Singapore we still have to beat Indonesia to get to the next round, for sure."

Indeed, the Azkals will need to gather momentum and get all the points that they can before they face defending champions Thailand on Friday, and coach Dooley is quite confident that his guys are up for the challenge. 

"The motivation is there, the players look fit. The players look ready."

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