By Duane Fonseca | Sport360 |
Philippines coach Michael Weiss believes he has learned a lot about his side after last time heavy defeat by Uzbekistan’s Olympic team in their friendly at the Al Nasr Club in Dubai.
German Weiss feels there were lessons to be learned that will stand the Azkals in good stead as they prepare for the AFC Challenge Cup.
The Philippines start their Challenge Cup campaign against Group B rivals North Korea on March 9, and Weiss said his main motive in last night’s match was to see how well his side had integrated.
“I think we faced a strong Uzbekistan side but our objective was mainly to learn and develop our homegrown players who don’t have the opportunity to play this level of opposition in their local leagues,” Weiss said.
“We want to reach a higher level and we are happy to be here and playing some fantastic sides [Australia are next up, on February 16]. It is a defeat that doesn’t harm us because we are planning to be strong on March 9 in our opening match.
“We are expecting a couple of professional players who are not here at the moment and that’s why we are choosing such matches. In the long term this will pay off for the development of our football.”
He added: “We are starting to integrate players in the side. We have been patient with the players and our intention is to create options in our side so that we can dig from a deeper pool of players.”
After the match, in which his side chased shadows most of the time, Weiss insisted he was delighted with the spirit his side displayed, but admitted there was still work to be done to improve.
He said: “We fielded younger players in the first half and a lack of coordination and a few mistakes from us got punished severely and quickly, but the spirit of the group was great.
“Our problem is we don’t have enough training time together. We have to link better and there must be more support from the midfielders.
“I see this match as a way of learning to reach the highest level in Asia. A few years back they would have scored even more and we should put things in the right context.
“We will fight until the last minute to get our professional players from Europe to come and play in the Challenge Cup. This is not disrespectful to the current players but these guys can make a difference and we are working round the clock to get these players together.
“We are fighters and the fighting spirit is the trademark of this team. I’m not going to speculate about the results at the Cup we will just take one game at a time and make the best of it.”