'Miracle worker' World Cup coach gives advice to U21s

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Serbian coach Bora Milutinovic gave advice to Vietnamese Under-21 footballers in Pleiku City of the Central Highland province of Gia Lai on Monday morning.

The 67-year-old Serbian came to meet the Vietnamese players, who were there to observe him training young players from Qatar's football academy Aspire.

Milutinovic said, "You must know me, right?. I've coached five different teams at the World Cup [Mexico in 1986, Costa Rica in 1990, the United States in 1994, Nigeria in 1998 and China in 2002 (therefore nicknamed "Miracle Worker")].

"I have some advice for you. I watched you play in your [2-0] win over Malaysia in the opener. You have great potential for growth."

However, he said the Vietnamese young players must improve their skills much more if they want to become really good players. He said they should have real love for the ball and treat it as their sweet-heart.

He said, "You must look around carefully, keep calm and deal with all the situations in the most intelligent way. I could see you were impatient in several situations."

Then he asked, "Which ones of you were in the shirts numbered 4, 8, 9 and 10? You really impressed me. Like the player in the shirt number 8 [Nhat Nam], you were a good player. Keep trying; but you must play more calmly."

"And player in the shirt No.4 [Van Thang], you were a good leader in defense and provided great support for the offense. I think you will cause a lot of difficulty for my players [from Aspire] in the final group stage match [on Thursday]."

Later on Monday, Milutinovic continued to be a "star" at the fifth edition of the annual U21 International Football Tournament. Several reporters and different newspapers interviewed him including HTV, VTC3 and VTV and Thailand's Siam Sports.

Milutinovic told journalist Nguyen Cong Khe, chief of the event's organizing committee and chairman of Thanh Nien Media Corporation, "I am very pleased and grateful to the organizers for inviting me and the young players from Aspire to participate in this event."

"In the future, I and the team from Aspire hope to be invited to this significant competition. As you know, I am a consultant for Aspire [Qatar's football academy] as well as Qatar Football Association in training young players for the World Cup 2022."

In response, Khe said he would like to invite Milutinovic to come to Vietnam and participate in the Thanh Nien-sponsored international event in the future. The world-famous Serbian coach accepted the invitation immediately and promised he would return to Vietnam.

Milutinovic was glad and surprised to know that Thanh Nien newspaper organized the U21 National Football Competition for the past 15 years and the U21 international event for five years.

Milutinovic said that this creates great competition for young players, and he said he hoped Thanh Nien newspaper would continue to keep this significant event going.

The ongoing event will continue on Tuesday afternoon with young players from Aspire clashing with Malaysia's U21s, while Iran will encounter Singapore.

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