FFT's Telling It Like It Is: Afshin Ghotbi, Buriram United

In the latest edition in our ongoing series, Afshin Ghotbi speaks for the first time about his time with Buriram United, his relationship with owner Newin Chidchob and the reasons behind his dismissal...

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As a manager and a head coach, I've experienced many different things all over the world. But nothing could prepare me for the experience I had in Buriram.

I've experienced many different things all over the world. But nothing could prepare me for the experience I had in Buriram

That was partly due to the owners' philosophy about how to be involved in the day-to-day operation of the football team on all levels.

There were philosophical differences about how a team should be managed.

I love the Thai players and I loved the Thai people. They have such a strong and kind spirit. The players are very open about wanting to improve and I believe I made a connection with them and the fans. I think I brought a level of professionalism they had never seen before and I'm not sure they were ready for it.

My dismissal had nothing to do with results. I arrived into the club in May and saw it was poorly managed on the football side. The players were not fit, not sharp and not motivated.

It all started because they had so much success last year. They talked about being among the top five teams in Asia.

Buriram owner Newin Chidchob

Ghotbi had some philosophical differences with owner Newin Chidchob

And then the Asian Champions League started and they lost the first game 6-0 to FC Seoul. It was a reality check and one that ended with the team not winning a game in the ACL.

There were a series of injuries and then they lost 3-0 to Muangthong United at home, something that had never happened before.

This all occurred before I arrived.

When I came on board, I felt there was a spark of enthusiasm and the players responded. Unfortunately for us, we immediately lost first-team captain Suchao Nutnum with an ACL injury. He was the soul of the club, one of the best Thai players and the leader of the team.

Within two weeks, there was an international break and we lost Korean Ko Seul-ki to a muscle infection.

The disease is so rare there had only been three cases heard about it before. He had to be placed in ICU and there was a danger of him not walking again.

Prior to that, he had been our main ball winner in the middle of the park.

So we lost the best Thai player and, maybe at the time with Diogo injured, our best foreign player too. There were no replacements.