Win over UAE just the start for Thailand, says Nishino
Pathum Thani: Head coach Akira Nishino has challenged Thailand to show that the win over United Arab Emirates in the Asian Qualifiers is just the start of a journey which will ultimately take the Southeast Asian team to the top of Asian football.
Goals by Teerasil Dangda and Eakkanit Punya either side of UAE's Ali Mabkhout scoring his sixth goal of the Asian Qualifiers at the Thammasat Stadium secured Thailand top spot in Group G with seven points after three matches.
Nishino, while congratulating his players on a fantastic performance, said there is still a long journey ahead for Thailand in their bid to compete with the Continent's best.
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"All the players helped and played for each other. We did well against the UAE because we played with more strength than they did from the start.
"We have shown today that teamwork is very important and that it cannot just be about individual players," said Nishino, who steered his native Japan to the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Round of 16.
Nishino, appointed Thailand head coach in July, said the secret to success was an entire team playing well.
"To get results, we have to play as a team. When players perform well, their teammates respond and that is what happened against the UAE," added Nishino in his post match comments on Tuesday.
Thailand opened their campaign with a hard fought 0-0 draw with Vietnam and then followed up with a 3-0 win over Indonesia in September's ties.
Nishino said Thailand still had a long journey to endure, one which he hopes will end with them sealing a place in the next round of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying and an automatic berth in the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
"We have only played three matches and we don't want to look too far ahead. We want to focus on one game at a time.
"From this game against the UAE, we have learnt new things which will help when we face Malaysia in our next match (on November 14).
"We have to continue what we showed against the UAE, who are formidable opponents. We have to show that Thailand football can compete with the best."
Photos: Football Association of Thailand
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