Coach Falko Gotz has expressed his shock over the Vietnam Football Federation's decision to end his contract early after the national team disappointed at the recent Southeast Asian Games.
"I am very surprised by this unexpected decision," the German told reporters at a press briefing in Hanoi, two weeks after the VFF announced they had fired him.
Vietnam's U-23 national team failed to make the podium at the SEA Games in Indonesia in November, a disappointment to a country passionate about football but constantly in despair over their poor results.
"As a coach, I must accept this decision although it's very difficult for me to respect it," Gotz said, adding that he was proud of his players and "not totally responsible" for his team's poor performance.
"Sometimes we have to accept losing to rivals who are stronger than us," he concluded.
Gotz, a 49-year-old former Bayer Leverkusen player, became the eighth foreign coach of Vietnam since 1995 after the departure of Portuguese Henrique Calisto.