Kiatisak did hint at resting some key players, but warned that their won’t be any let-up in the Thai efforts to keep their winning streak going.
And this isn’t exactly what the hosts want to hear.
The Philippines have two points from as many draws in their Group A games so far and they need a victory over defending champions Thailand to guarantee themselves a place in the semi-finals. Indonesia and Singapore, who like Thailand have won the Southeast Asian championship four times, square off in the other group match this evening.
Both Indonesia and Singapore lost their matches to the Thais and drew the Philippines. The match also promises an all-out war as winners will be able to stake a claim for the next round.
“Although we are through to the next round, the last game is still important for our team,” Kiatisak said during the pre-match conference yesterday (Nov 24).
“Our goal is three points, same as the two previous games.
“We will change some players since we have 23 squad and they are all strong. There are Fifa ranking points up for grabs in this tournament, so we will still be doing our best.
“I also think the Philippines will give their all to beat us so we can expect a tough-tackling approach from them and an intimidating atmosphere with all their fans, maybe 30,000-40,000 at the stadium, cheering them on just like when we play in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.”
The Thai coach also played down concern over referees when asked about an incident two years ago when striker Adisak Kraisorn was sent off during the semi-finals against the Philippines.
“I don’t think we should be too overly concerned about the officials,” said Kiatisak. “I always tell my players to respect the referees and whatever decisions that come our way.”
Meanwhile, the Philippines head coach Thomas Dooley said that no matter which team Thailand send out, his men will be focused on the task at hand – which is to get the victory.
“We are not interested in the Fifa rankings [the Philippines are No.1 in Asean]. We are only interested in winning the game and this could be our last game in the tournament, but it is the more important for us because we need to win to get to the next round,” Dooley said.
“Every team is different but when you are in the next round already, you are maybe a little tired. There could be a lack of concentration, maybe there could be individual mistakes we could take advantage of.
“The players are ready and they are talking to each other and looking forward to it.”
Dooley added that the match against regional powerhouses Thailand will be a good way to test his team’s courage as well.
“We are looking forward to the match. Thailand are a country we look up to as a team. They have a lot of fans supporting them and great youth development; the players coming out are in a position to play at a higher level,” Dooley stated.
“Our plans for the Philippines are to get to the next level and to get there we need to get to the final.”
The match between Thailand and the Philippines will be played at Philippines Sports Stadium and will be televised live on Channel 7 and Foxsports 2, starting at 7pm (Thai time).
Singapore and Indonesia will face off at Rizal Memorial stadium at the same time.
The top two teams of each group reach the semi-finals which will be played on a home-and-away basis from Dec 3-8.
Read original story here.