MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ win over Guam left head coach Scott Cooper wanting more from his team.
The Philippine Azkals secured third place in the second round of the joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers following a 3-0 victory Friday night but it was not enough to impress Cooper, who saw an inconsistent showing from the Azkals.
“I think, maybe we gave ourselves more problems than Guam gave us, to be honest,” said Cooper in a story on the AFC website. “We managed to finally score two goals from set-pieces and we’re pleased with the result, but the performance was patchy.
“For five or 10 minutes we played well and then for another five or 10 minutes we didn’t play so well. I’m not happy with that. We can’t have those periods where we’re in and out of trouble.”
The Azkals pulled ahead early after a goal from Angel Guirado in the 12th minute but it took a while before they capitalized on their chances.
It wasn’t until an own goal by Marcus Lopez that the Azkals padded their lead before Mark Hartmann set the final tally in the 88th off a free kick.
Coach Scott Cooper says his players showing their dissatisfaction with their performance even with a 3-0 win over Guam…
Posted by The Azkals on Saturday, June 12, 2021
“So from my perspective, I told the players we are happy with the result but we’re dissatisfied with the performance and they know we can do better than that,” Cooper said.
“Our standards going forward have to be higher than that. Our ambition is to play better football than that. We can do much better than that,” he added.
Cooper also said the Azkals displayed discipline in their 2-0 loss to China on Tuesday, which was a stark contrast to their performance against Guam.
“In our first game against China we showed organizational discipline and in this game, we showed none. We didn’t have enough continuity in our game or in how we possessed the ball and that’s why we changed the formation at halftime,” he said.
“The second half wasn’t so bad, we started to string more things together especially in the last 20-25 minutes, the possession was good but the composure in the last third meant we only scored one goal and that’s disappointing for me.”
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