HK’s footballers need to attack more: new coach

New Hong Kong football team head coach Jørn Andersen says he wants the team to play more attacking football, saying winning is not possible when the team keep defending deeply.

The Norwegian recently took over from Finland’s Mixu Paatelainen whose contract wasn’t renewed, signing a 18-month contract that will keep him in charge of Hong Kong men’s senior squad until July 2023.

In his first meeting with the press on Friday, Andersen said he studied the senior team’s recent games, and he didn’t like how they were only set up to defend.

“I will try to maybe change a little bit, we can play a little bit more offensive, we try to defend a little bit higher,” he told reporters during a press conference via video link.

“Sometimes try to press the opponent, don’t let them come too easy in our half, not too easy attacking our goal. That’ll be my first important point in the beginning.”

With Covid restrictions in place, Andersen said it’s hard for them to prepare for upcoming major tournaments, such as qualifying matches in June for next year’s AFC Asian Cup. He expressed the hope that the government would allow the team to train in a “sports bubble”.

Recently, the Football Association disciplined 11 under-23 players, including senior squad defender Shinichi Chan, after the group got drunk during the team’s trip to Japan last October. They are banned from selection for the Hong Kong team for a year because of “misconduct and inappropriate behaviour”.

“The staff and the players, we’re the only ones from Hong Kong, for our Hong Kong team. We have to be professional, you have to work as a professional,” Andersen said in response to a question on the incident.

“We don’t allow drinking alcohol when you’re with the [representative] team or travelling with the team, we don’t allow that. That is not possible.”