Thais looking to dominate Indonesians again (06/12/2010)

JAKARTA: Thailand coach Bryan Robson is hopeful that his team can maintain their good record against Indonesia at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium when the two sides clash in their final Group A game on Tuesday evening.

The Thais have come out on top in both previous AFF Suzuki Cup meetings against the home side in Jakarta. They famously took the 2002 title by downing the hosts on penalties in the final and also won 1-0 in the first leg of the semi-finals two years ago.

With Thailand desperately needing a victory to guarantee their progression to the last four after drawing against Laos and Malaysia, Robson is hoping that luck will continue to shine on his side at the often hostile venue.

"I hope that it is a lucky stadium for us because sometimes things like that can work in your favour when the players believe in that as well," said the Englishman.

"But the most important thing for me is for my players to believe in themselves that they have the confidence to go out tomorrow and believe that they can win the game because I think we have the ability to achieve that.

"My players are used to playing in big games. They have been to big stadiums with passionate away fans so I don't have any fears about them being able to handle a big atmosphere at the stadium.

"And sometimes the better players respond to a great atmosphere. In the first two games, it's been quite quiet but maybe in this next game, my big players will rise to the challenge and enjoy the atmosphere in the stadium."

Indonesia may have already booked top spot in the group with two wins in as many games, but Robson dos not anticipate that it will make things any easier for his players.

"With Indonesia having qualified and finishing top of the group, they've got the job done and I suppose that the coach now can look to freshen things up for the semi-finals and protect the players who are injured or on yellow cards.

"But it does concern me sometimes that fresh players coming in have a point to prove. They will want to impress the coach so it makes it a much tougher game."

On his part, Robson has pledged to make changes to his side that drew 0-0 with Malaysia on Saturday.

"We have been showing a bit of tiredness towards the end of both games so I'm looking to make some changes not too many tomorrow to freshen the team up again.

"Some players are playing their fourth games in nine days since last Sunday. It's very difficult to get the freshness back into them after a short period of time but I do feel that we're just that little bit fresher than we were coming into the tournament and the first game."

Indonesia assistant coach Wolfgang Pikal insisted that his side will not be taking Thailand any more lightly than they normally would although he did indicate that there would be changes to the team.

Said the Austrian: "The main thing for us is that we're trying to help the players to recover after the last two games. We have two players injured Hamka Hamzah and Yesaya Desnam and there is a possibility that we will rotate some of the players for the next game because some of them have yellow cards (skipper Firman Utina and Ahmad Bustomi) and we don't want to take a risk.

"But we are still hoping for a good game and to win against Thailand. We are not here for holidays and our big motivation is that we want to get ready for the start of the semi-finals. We also have the responsibility to our fans and the Indonesian people to try to win the match.

"We have a great respect for Thailand. They are a very good team and our history shows that Indonesia have not won many important matches against them. They are under a lot of pressure because this is their last chance to go to the semi-finals and we know that are going to play offensively and try to win the match."

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