(Photo from AFFSuzukiCup.com)

Philippine Azkals coach Stewart Hall urged the players to focus on what they can control as they aim to remain in contention for a semifinal spot in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020.

A 2-1 defeat to host Singapore to begin their campaign has put the Azkals in a situation where they’ll need to win all of their remaining three matches in order to sneak a semis berth given to the top two teams in Group A.

They are expected to pick up the full three points against lowly Timor-Leste Saturday, Dec. 11 before they face a daunting task of getting a result three days later against Thailand, one of the tournament favorites.

The Azkals wrap up their group stage assignment on Dec. 18 against Myanmar.

“The objectives now are quite clear,” Hall said in a pre-match press conference held virtually Friday, Dec. 10. “We need to win the three games. And you may get lucky and get two wins and one draw.

“That may be enough depending on other results, but you can’t rely on that. You’ve got to try and win all three remaining games. And that’s what we’ve talked about with the players.”

Singapore is ahead in the table with six points after getting two victories in as many matches while Thailand has three points after its 2-0 win over Timor-Leste last Dec. 5.

Myanmar sits third with three points on one win and one defeat while Timor-Leste lost both games by similar 2-0 scorelines.

Hall said the team must come by looking at the silver linings from the Singapore setback.

The Azkals allowed Singapore to score two goals in a matter of three minutes during the second half as their defense faltered during both sequences.

But Hall, who is set to be aided by Scott Cooper who only arrived Friday due to travel permit issues, said the team was able to put up a solid showing even in defeat.

“We’ve looked at being positive. We’ve looked at ‘We did okay the last game.’ It wasn’t a great performance. It wasn’t a bad one either,” said Hall.

“Considering the squad we’ve got in the lack of preparation time, I felt the players worked very hard.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/12/10/azkals-coach-keeps-positive-mindset-says-semis-spot-still-possible/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=azkals-coach-keeps-positive-mindset-says-semis-spot-still-possible)