Robson refuses to quit as Thai boss

Topics

BANGKOK - Former England captain Bryan Robson put on a brave face on Sunday in explaining why he was clinging on to his job as Thailand coach after overseeing the country's worst performances in recent years.

Furious Thai fans have demanded the resignation of the country's football president and want answers as to why a side once tipped to become an Asian football heavyweight has stumbled embarrassingly in every competition since Robson took over.

The former Manchester United skipper, who replaced compatriot Peter Reid in September 2009, called his own news conference to explain the team's dire form and admitted he would not give himself a passing grade in his first national team job.

"No, I don't count anything as a pass until we win," a stern-faced Robson said when asked to evaluate his performance as Thailand boss. "I'm quite disappointed, I want to win and it's results that matter."

Under Robson, Thailand failed to reach the Asian Cup for the first time in 23 years and were bundled out of the Southeast Asian Games and the Southeast Asian championship - competitions they have long dominated - in the opening rounds.

Draws against strugglers Laos, Malaysia and the Maldives in the last three months were the final straw for angry Thai fans who had witnessed a major facelift under Reid, whose new-look, free-flowing team climbed rapidly up the FIFA world rankings.

Robson said he would not step down because he believed in his players and said the team had suffered due to the success of revamped domestic competitions, which had left his players exhausted and poorly prepared for national duty.

The former Middlesbrough, West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield United and Bradford City boss also rejected criticism he had spent too much time being a TV pundit and a global ambassador for Manchester United and said he was committed to his job.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm coach here fulltime," he said. "People have said I keep going back to England or to Singapore to do TV work but I've not left Thailand for six months, other than for matches and last season I attended 72 (local) games."

He wants Thai football to be better organised and was confident that if given proper support, he could reverse his team's form in time for 2014 World Cup qualifiers next year.

"It's frustrating coming from the Premier League, people here do things off the cuff, it's a big change in mentality," he said.

"Everyone here is passionate about the game and everyone is very disappointed. We couldn't give the fans what they wanted. But there's hope there, we have the ability."