Al Ain, UAE: Qatar coach Felix Sanchez said his team would not be changing their style of play when they take on North Korea in their next Group E clash in Al Ain on Sunday despite struggling to turn their dominance into goals against Lebanon last Wednesday.
Qatar eventually secured a 2-0 win over the West Asian side with goals from Abdulaziz Hatem and Almoez Ali, but they had to wait to break down Miodrag Radulovic’s well-drilled Lebanese side.
The Spanish coach, though, praised his team’s patient approach and has no intention of a different approach when they take on North Korea, with victory almost certain to take the Qataris into the next phase of the competition.
“Each match is different and we cannot renounce the way we play,” said Sanchez. “It’s difficult to change now, but we need to find solutions to be more close to the opposition’s goal.
“But in front you always have an opponent and Lebanon showed they’re a well-organised team and they were very physical. This was the first game and it’s never easy to do the right thing all the time in the first game.
“But the team showed they were patient enough and, hopefully, in the next game we will perform better and do something that we couldn’t do in the last game.”
Sanchez refused to discuss whether 2018 AFC Player of the Year Abdelkarim Hassan would start on Sunday having been left on the bench for the first hour of the opening game before being introduced to great effect.
The win against Lebanon left Qatar level on points with Saudi Arabia at the top of the group, but with the Saudis scoring four unanswered goals against North Korea, Sanchez knows goal difference could be a factor in determining the final outcome of the group.
“We’re focusing game-by-game and goal difference can make the difference in the ranking, so for that reason when we play the game we’re going to try to be focused and perform during the 90 minutes so we can get the best result for us,” he said.
“We know it’s going to be a very tough opponent and we are going to play a very good game tomorrow to get the result.”
DPR Korea will go into the game without suspended striker Han Kwang-song after he was sent off in the loss to Saudi Arabia, but coach Kim Yong-jun is confident he has enough quality to compensate for the young forward’s loss.
“I can say that without him there will be some effect but I don't think it will be too big because we have some good players like our captain, Jong Il-gwan, and Pak Kwang Ryong, who plays in Austria, so I don't think there will be a big effect for the second match,” said Kim.
“Our primary target in this tournament is to qualify for the next round, so for the last three days we have focused in training on the mistakes we made in the first game. We’ve been training for three days and we’re ready for the game.
“In the first game we focused more on defence than attacking and we didn’t create many goal scoring chances and to overcome this we’ll be playing more offensively than we did in the last match.