Singapore captain Ammirul Emmran Mazlan and coach Richard Tardy are desperate to put defeat to Malaysia behind but the Vietnamese have told their players to win at all cost.
Singapore under-21 skipper Ammirul rallied his teammates ahead of the Nations Cup third place playoff match at Stadium Hang Jebat on Sunday.
Having spoken to his teammates on Saturday morning, the 20-year-old midfielder believes the 3-0 loss to Malaysia was behind them despite the defeat, to arch-rivals nonetheless, being a demoralising one as the Lions only had themselves to blame for defensive lapses.
Singapore came into the competition with high expectations after impressive performances against Iran in March and having started with eight Young Lions players – including the entire midfield – the republic was expected to give Malaysia a fight.
“As part of the role of a captain, it was my responsibility to talk the players after the loss to Malaysia. We spoke and everyone is on the same page about wanting to bounce back,” said Ammirul.
“The loss was unacceptable but yesterday is over and we have to think about Vietnam now. We want third place.”
The under-21 competition may only serve as preparation for the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur but Singapore coach Tardy, who tore into his team on Friday, wasn’t taking things easy.
“Yes it’s only an under-21 invitational meet, just part of preparation for the big one next year, but this is also a competition. How we play is most important but we have to win too,” said Tardy.
His Vietnamese counterpart Hoang Anh Tuan was also on the same page as Tardy, but refused to take the Singaporeans lightly despite witnessing their horrendous defending against the hosts.
“Every match is different in football. This is a new game and I expect Singapore to be a bit different. It’s the same for us,” said Anh Tuan.
“We had some problems against Thailand but we cannot let that happen again. I told the players whatever happens they have to win against Singapore.”