Mano Polking: “Port & Buriram Are the Strongest Teams”


Port take on 2018 runners-up Bangkok Utd in an absolutely HUGE clash at the PAT this Saturday (19:00). We’re excited, you’re excited, and so is BU coach Mano Polking! We had a chat to Mano to get his thoughts on what is a crucial game for both teams’ title ambitions…

BU have been slow starters in the last couple of seasons and it seems the same is happening in 2019. Why do you think results haven’t quite gone your way so far? Can we expect another surge up the table between now and October?

We know that is very difficult to surge up like the last two seasons, especially because this year the league is being more competitive. So I’m sure that our bad start will hurt us again. The good thing is that apart from you guys the other teams are also having a slow start and the gap is not that big to the second place. This year we suffered again with the champions league play off. All the pre-season must be planned in a different way, must start much earlier and losing that game cost us a lot of confidence. Then we have 5 new first eleven players that unfortunately need some time to adapt and losing Vander Luis and Mika for three months made everything worse.

The club has made massive progress under your management in the last 5 years. Do you think other clubs – Port for example – have looked at BU as a model to follow, in terms of stability and long-term development?

I really hope Port will give Jadet a lot of time. He is a good coach and is doing a good job. But being honest I think Port is not looking at BU, they just keep investing in good players and trust Jadet to make it happen.

What do you think of Port’s form & performances so far this season? Which players are you most worried about facing on Saturday?

I won a bet with my staff last year already saying Port will finish in the top three, and before this season starts I said that you will fight for the title till end of the season. After 10 rounds you can see that I was right and now they all believe me! And the reasons are easy to understand. You kept almost all the squad, play a clear system where you have the right players to play and got with Go Seul Ki and Sumanya the depth that you need to fight for the title. 15 games at the “hell” stadium is a big advantage in the league also. Bole and Suarez are for me the most dangerous players as usual.

Port never, ever beat BU. I think the last time was 2014 or something. I guess you and your players find the atmosphere at the PAT inspiring rather than intimidating?

Particularly is my favorite stadium to play away! The best football atmosphere in the league.

In the last couple of years two of your top players – Boskovic & Sumanya – have moved to Port. Do you regret letting them go, especially given Port’s current league position?

In this case is not about regretting. Only a stupid coach would not want to have these players. Especially Bole and Tak. Because they are not only good players, they are also fantastic guys. But in football business sometimes you have to make some moves that are not any related to football. It’s about money and balance finances. So I’m not alone there and I have to work with the club and always for the best of the club.

You were on the rough end of some, shall we say, bizarre refereeing decisions on Sunday. What can be done to improve the standard of refereeing in Thailand? Are you a fan of VAR or not?

After last Sunday I’m the biggest fan of VAR, because in that case if a referee has a bad intention to do something it would be impossible to do. With the VAR on Sunday I would have two more points. (Again it’s NOT an excuse to draw against Chiangmai, I have to win anyway) but scoring the penalty plus the legal goal would be 3-1 for us and one player more. Difficult to not win like that.

Finally, if BU don’t win the league this season, who do you think will, and why?

After I read your comments on Twitter I have now less pressure cause you already think that we are out of the race! But I disagree with you on Chiang Rai. I always believe in performances and they are not playing that good to be champions. But you guys and Buriram are for sure the two most strong ones and you will be fighting till the end! Buriram because of being Buriram! Sure they will make another big investment to replace Maiga and the “weight” of the Jersey is too big. So they will always be title contenders

Port because you kept all the good players from last year. Then you changed one average Korean for the best Korean ever in this league. Then you got Sumanya who can replace almost all the positions in case you need. And the destiny helped you also – because of the injuries you were forced to play and see how good is Bodin and this will help you. Same with Rochela. He is a great player but he is a technical defender with a very good quality on the ball. But not playing from the back sometimes a more physical defender is helping you to defend better!

There is one more team that I don’t need to tell you…and watch out for Samut Prakan. Good coach and good first eleven!

Big thanks again Mano, and good luck for Saturday, should be a fantastic night in a full stadium!

You’re welcome and always a pleasure to talk to you and even a bigger pleasure to play in your stadium!!!!


Tim Russell

Tim Russell

The founder and editor of The Sandpit, Tim has been in SE Asia since 2003 and in Bangkok since 2012, where he runs a travel tech business. Tim has followed Port FC since 2014, and is also a fan of his hometown club Coventry City, and French club AS St-Etienne. He has written for the likes of Football365,, NME and The Quietus, and is a regular contributor to God Is In the TV. He's a keen photographer and his work can be seen on his website.

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  1. Fantastic says:

    1)B/W colors – what’s happened.. with who ?
    2)Nongbua pitchaya FC vs TPFC – Toyota League Cup today at 18:00 where to watch game ?


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