BANGKOK • Kiatisuk Senamuang is confident that Thailand can turn things around in the second leg of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup final in Bangkok today, despite admitting that he lost sleep after his side's 2-1 first-leg away defeat by Indonesia.
Defending champions Thailand made a strong statement of their title credentials by reeling off five wins in a row en route to the title showdown, against an Indonesia side that they had beaten 4-2 in the group-stage opener last month in the Philippines.
However, it was not to be, as Indonesia's victory on Wednesday meant that Kiatisuk's men fell to their first defeat in the competition, in which they are tied with Singapore as the joint most successful country with four titles.
Former national striker Kiatisuk, who guided the kingdom to the title two years ago to add to the three that he won during his playing days, said he had barely slept after what was only his second defeat in charge of the team in the regional championship.
"I didn't sleep because I was thinking about the tactics for the second leg at home. The real title match will be on Saturday," the 43-year-old said.
"We're fortunate to snatch an away goal even though we lost 1-2. If we manage to win 1-0, we'll become the champions on away goals rule. If not, we have to accept the bitter truth."
Given the short time to turn their fortunes around, the Thailand coach added that he will try to ensure his players will be ready for the second leg at the Rajamangala National Stadium today and they will be up to the task.
"There is no easy game in football today. We have seen how good other Asean teams are," he said.
"But there's nothing to be concerned about the tactics as everyone already has a good understanding about our playing system.
"So, what we need to do now is to help the players recover mentally as well. I told them that it's normal to win or lose in football. If we win at home, there will not be any problem. If not, we have to accept that we're not good enough."
Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl has warned his players not to be complacent despite going into the clash with a one-goal advantage.
"We go to Bangkok with the lead, so, of course, we have the chance to become champions," the Austrian said on the regional tournament's website, AFFSuzukiCup.com.
"But we cannot underestimate Thailand. They are after all the best team in South-east Asia."
THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
THAILAND V INDONESIA
Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch208, 7.30pm