Lee Jung-hyo, head coach of professional soccer’s K League 1 Gwangju FC, believes he has a lot to prove.
With Gwangju cruising in the first division after being promoted from the second division, Lee’s tactical prowess has been well-received, but he also wants to be confident in his ‘nurturing ability’.
Ahead of the team’s Hana One Q K League 2023 Round 29 away match against leaders Ulsan Hyundai on Wednesday afternoon at the Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium, Lee was asked by the media how he feels about the recent influx of players into the national team.
“I feel a little more confident now,” Lee replied, despite the fact that he’s not known for publicly praising his players.
Lee smiles as he watches his subordinates, who have been in the shadows, wear the Korean flag one by one.
About seven months ago, at the K League Winter Training Media Camp in Seogwipo, Lee said, “My goal is for my players to be selected for the Asian Games, the Olympics, and the national team,” and he was right.
As Lee hopes, Gwangju players have been sought out by national teams at all levels recently.
Hwang Sun-hong, who will lead the team to the Hangzhou Asian Games, which begin this month, has added Jung Ho-yeon, a midfielder, to his final roster.
Late last month, second-string center back Uhm and long striker Heo Yul were also named to the squad preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Then, A team coach Jürgen Klinsmann called up the team’s lifeblood, Lee Soon-min, for the September A match (a match between national teams).
Unlike the previous three players, who are considered promising K League prospects, Lee, born in 1994, was honored for the first time at the age of 30.
Under Lee’s tutelage, Lee’s steady defense and work rate in the league earned him points with Klinsmann.
Now that the team has finally earned a spot on the A team, Lee has set his sights on new goals.
“I want to develop other players. This time, I want to develop Lee Hee-gyun and others,” Lee said, adding, “I will continue to develop them into players who can represent Korea.”
Gwangju, led by Lee, have been in good form recently. They have three wins and five draws in eight games.
With 14 points in that span, they’ve risen to third place in the standings.
Coincidentally, Gwangju’s last loss was to Ulsan. On July 2, Gwangju lost 0-1 at home to Ulsan.
Furthermore, the team will have to face Ulsan away from home without the ‘Chapo’.
Timo and Aaron, the center of the defense, are out with injuries, while Heo Yul and Asani are unavailable after accumulating cautions in the last round.
There are also no thumbs in the U-23 squad.
“It was very difficult to prepare for this match,” Lee said, adding, “I was feeling down about four days ago, but the players understood well.”
He continued, “We prepared for a game where we could show our colors today. Even though our opponent is Ulsan, we’re going to give it our all,” he added. 토토사이트