Robson keen to attack
Bryan Robson has promised an attacking mentality from his side when he takes charge of his first competitive match as Thailand coach tomorrow in a 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualifier against regional rivals Singapore at the National Stadium.
The former England and Manchester United captain took over from Peter Reid last month and made a winning start in charge of the South East Asians, a 2-0 friendly win over Myanmar champions Yadanarbon. Tomorrow's game, however, will pose a much more difficult challenge as Thailand looked to secure their first win at the third time of asking in Group E.
"I've been to Singapore on many occasions but never in this capacity as the head coach of a team," said the former Middlesbrough and Bradford manager. "As a coach I always try to win matches whether home or away. I never send a team out just to hold on to a point. I always tell my players to express themselves when they are on the ball.
"I know that Raddy (Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic) has worked with Singapore for a long time and he knows his players very well. We want to give them a tough game and I'm sure it will be a good game."
Singapore, meanwhile, are one place and one point above Thailand in the standings having beaten Jordan in January after losing their opening qualifying game 6-0 to leaders Iran. "The two best teams in South East Asia will be in action and there's no better occasion to be at the stadium," said Avramovic. The players have tried very hard in training and the attitude has been really great. All of them are working hard to be in the starting XI."
In the group's other game, Iran host bottom side Jordan at the Azadi Stadium with coach Afshin Ghotbi imploring the home fans to get behind his team following the disappointment of missing out on the FIFA World Cup™. "I want the people and media to support Iran because you are 'Team Melli's' 12th man. Don't leave us alone," urged the 45-year-old, who will be able to call on Osasuna duo Javad Nekounam and Masoud Shojaei.
"I want people to come to the stadium on Saturday where their attendance will give the players huge motivation. Our aim is simple. We want to build a team of which Iran will be proud and this team can go to the Asian Cup with a new brand of football and become the best team in Asia."
Fulham midfielder Andranik Teimourian is also available but there are injury concerns over right-back Khosro Heidari and playmaker Iman Mobali. The two teams meet again in Amman a week later and Jordan coach Adnan Hamad knows the games could shape their qualifying campaign.
"This is a very important match for us because we can get near to the top of the group," he said. "Iran are top but there's just three points between us and with a win in this match and the return fixture we can go top."