Bahrain coach Salman Sharida has pleaded for patience from supporters after seeing his side beaten 2-1 by Korea Republic in their opening Group C game at the AFC Asian Cup. A brace from midfielder Koo Ja-Cheol set South Korea on course for what looked like a routine victory, but Faouzi Aaish pulled a goal back from the penalty spot in the 85th minute to leave the South Koreans hanging on.
Sharida only took over following the surprise resignation of Austrian coach Josef Hickersberger last October. And he reminded everyone that he had had little time to impress his ideas upon the squad.
"Remember, I've only spent two months with the team and two months is not enough to prepare for matches of this kind," he said. "Korea have played in the World Cup many times.
"We wish there had been a reaction from the players after the first goal, but this isn't what happened. But you know that some coaches have spent many years developing their teams and we will see what we can achieve when we have the same amount of time."
Despite only losing by a single goal, Sharida was willing to admit that there had been a gulf in class between the two teams at times. "The Korean team controlled the midfield and the pitch," he said.
"In the first 30 minutes I asked the team to exert more pressure but once Korea scored the goal, everything changed. But our team is still at the beginning and we hope in the future that we will become a better team.
"We are a very young team and Korea have many internationals. But we trust our team and we will try to work to improve the performance of the team over the two coming matches. We will have to try to raise the morale as well."
Eliminated from the last AFC Asian Cup at the group phase, Bahrain are bidding to emulate the exploits of the 2004 side that made it all the way to the semi-finals. Their next opponents, on Friday, are India - thrashed 4-0 by Australia in their opening game - before a final group match against the Socceroos on 18 January.