Buriram United head coach Bozidar Bandovic hailed the work ethic and mental strength of his players after they clinched the club’s fifth Thai League (T1)
Dominant Buriram still the best
At the beginning of the season, it did not appear that Buriram United had made any significant changes to strengthen an ageing squad. But the players that remained were more than good enough to continue their dominance in Thai football and stage a stirring run to the last 16 of the AFC Champions League (ACL). The emergence of some young players was complemented by a core group of very experienced players to create the perfect balance. Eight of those who started Saturday’s match were 30 or over but they were joined on the pitch by 20-year-old midfielder Ratthanakorn Maikami and 19-year-old attacker Supachai Jaided.
22-year-old wing-back Sasalak Haiprakhon and 20-year-old attacking midfielder Supachok Sarachat have also made important contributions this year. “We are champions because we work very, very hard,” Bandovic told ThaiFootie.com. “The team was good tactically and even the young players are now coaches on the field. “We are ready to run and sprint in the first and last 10 minutes of a game. We had many games in the ACL and T1 at the same time.
“We showed how one Thai team can compete against big teams from Korea, China and Japan tactically and physically. “What we did last year, we wanted the same in 2018. We build a team step by step to have a winning mentality. “We have experienced players with strong characters, both Thai and foreign, and they are leaders, so the young players will be the same in future. The players believe in and trust my work and I always believe in them.”
While there will be the usual evaluation of playing resources ahead of the 2019 campaign, Bandovic believes continuity will be key to more success. “We are a big team and our targets are big,” he said. “We have team that is ready but we will take players in some positions so we can maintain the level as the last two years. “Most of our young players are around 20 years old but now have more experience and have already won two championships.”