Halilhodzic: Japan must improve in front of goal

Halilhodzic: Japan must improve in front of goal

Vahid Halilhodzic has urged Japan to turn over a new leaf in front of goal beginning from their 2018 World Cup qualifying clash with Thailand.

The Samurai Blue travel to face the Southeast Asian giants at Rajamangala Stadium days after suffering an inauspicious 2-1 home loss to UAE at the start of their campaign.

And while Halilhodzic blamed the referee, he also maintained that his men must help themselves and take their chances while being less careless at the back.

“We’re not Barcelona, but [against UAE] we took 25 shots. About 13 of them were good chances on goal,” the coach told reporters on Monday. 

“If you compare us to any other country in the world, we created a lot of good chances. But scoring goals has been a problem for us. 

“Sometimes we’re denied goals even after we score them, and I don’t want to be denied again. It was difficult to accept that loss; we were sometimes treated unfairly by the referees.

“We’re not happy with it, but life goes on. I tried hard to encourage rather than criticise any specific players. 

“We gave them two goals wrapped up in a bow but I tried to let the players recover, and we ate at the Japanese restaurant next to the hotel.

Nevertheless, Halilhodzic expressed confidence ahead of the Thailand encounter and expects a good performance, even if he warned Japan about the atmosphere awaiting them in Bangkok.

“We were all saddened by Thursday’s result but we had to get back into a positive frame of mind,” he continued. 

“We need to steel ourselves ahead of Tuesday’s match. Thailand played a very good match against Saudi Arabia on Thursday and they probably deserved a better result. 

“I’m very familiar with the atmosphere at Thailand’s home games. I’ve seen video of several matches and they’re very passionate, with great support. They play very well at home. 

“They’re fast and their play advances quickly. Both Japan and Thailand have enough quality to control the match. There aren’t any easy matches in the final round of qualifying.

“Thailand’s fans are incredibly passionate and I expect a good showing from Japanese fans too. We’ve prepared well to win this match.”