• Dooley remains upbeat despite Azkals’ double losses

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    Jang Kuk Chol of North Korea (left) and Stephan Schrock of the Philippines battle for the ball during an international friendly match at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila on Monday. PHOTO BY DJ DIOSINA

    Jang Kuk Chol of North Korea (left) and Stephan Schrock of the Philippines battle for the ball during an international friendly match at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila on Monday. PHOTO BY DJ DIOSINA

    Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley is still positive despite the back-to-back defeats of his wards in two goodwill matches that the Philippines hosted.

    The Azkals first lost to Bahrain 1-3, on Friday, before absorbing another 1-3 loss to North Korea on Monday. The two matches were part of the Philippines preparation for the 2016 Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup group stage tournament in November.

    “Those games are good for learning and now the players have to adjust to it. We need to find solutions. We have to think about our mistakes and what the solution can be. This is important for development,” he said during the postmatch news conference.

    Dooley said that the two games allowed them to assess the players particularly their younger talents.

    “This camp was a great eye-opener for some of the players and for the team. It is something we need to address and we talked about it already,” he said.

    Dooley stressed that the two friendly matches served as a learning experience for the Azkals.

    “If you play teams that you can beat easily, everybody will think that everything is perfect. That’s why we want to play against better teams,” he said.

    The 54-year-old American coach stressed that losing is part of the improvement process.

    “It’s a development that we need to start early to get in the position like where those countries are. Our players have a long way to go. They have to understand that. They don’t have to think about how good they are right now, they have to think how good they want to be,” he said.

    Dooley said that the Azkals still have ample time to adjust and fine-tune their game for their biggest tournament this year.

    “We have time to change things and we have time to think different ways. We talked about it and we just hope it’s going to happen,” he concluded.

    The Azkals will play their last goodwill match against Kyrgyzstan on November 9 in their home turf before starting their campaign in the Southeast Asian Championship.

    The Philippines will be housed in Group A together with Singapore, Indonesia and defending champion Thailand. The tournament will be held at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan from November 19 to 25.

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