Bert van Marwijk pleased with UAE resolve in 2022 World Cup qualifier win over Thailand

National team manager urges his players to stay focused for next match against Indonesia

The UAE manager Bert van Marwijk praised his side’s resolve to come through their testing clash against Thailand, as focus switches now to making it three victories from three in the World Cup qualification restart.

Monday’s 3-1 win at Zabeel Stadium in Dubai, following the 4-0 thrashing of Malaysia on Thursday, keeps them second in Group G, two points off leaders Vietnam.

The UAE next face bottom side Indonesia on Friday, before facing Vietnam in the potential qualification decider four days later.

Only the group winners are guaranteed to advance to the third and final round, although the four best runners-up progress also.

The national side was made to work hard against Thailand. Having ended the first half 2-0 up – Caio Canedo and Fabio De Lima got the goals – the hosts were pegged back on 54 minutes. The UAE then missed a host of chances before substitute Mohammed Juma Eid scored in injury time.

“It was a tough game, against a good opponent,” Van Marwijk said. “I think they analysed us well and pressed us from the beginning. We survived that very well and then we started to play our own game.

“I’m not satisfied about some parts of the game. But also we didn’t give away real chances, maybe one or two. And we could score maybe five, six goals extra. But that doesn’t say the real thing about this game.

“In the second half, after a few changes in the team, we got back the control. That was an important moment. And then you score the 3-1, everybody is happy and the game is over. But we are still not there. We have to play two more games, and ... it will not be easy, but we are on a run.”

Yet, Van Marwijk was pleased with his team’s commitment to the collective cause.

“This is the first game we get problems; all the games, also the friendly games, everything went very well,” he said. “And 2-0, no problem, but when it’s 2-1 that was the first time for this team now that get the experience, what will they do [in that situation].

We have to play two more games, and the first is the most important now. It will not be easy, but we are on a run

UAE manager Bert van Marwijk

“And the answer was sometimes very well, but sometimes we couldn’t find the answer. This is an important moment also for the team, that they know those things. But you get experience if you have the experience.

“On one side, it’s very good that we had this experience. On the other side, it’s also a compliment that we get back, and we scored the 3-1 and we could also score the 4-1, 5-1, 6-1. And still, we didn’t give away a lot of chances. So the team stood professional and, at the end, we won 3-1. And I think Thailand is maybe one of the strongest teams we play.”

The UAE, who began the Group G resumption five points off the summit, will be expected to earn another victory against Indonesia.

However, Van Marwijk’s warned against complacency, especially with the Vietnam encounter still to come.

“We have the long way to go,” he said. “I said from the beginning, the only thing is sure is, if we win four games, then we go to the next round. That’s why we are here and that’s what we are working for.

“For me the most important game is Indonesia, nothing else. We see the Indonesia game like all the others: very important. And we must do everything also to win that game.”

Updated: June 8, 2021 07:51 PM

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