“Kim Min-jae is a prepared leader.”
메이저놀이터The Korean national soccer team, led by coach Jurgen Klinsmann, won 4-0 in a home friendly match against Tunisia held at Sangam World Cup Stadium in Seoul on the 13th.
South Korea defeated Tunisia thanks to Lee Kang-in’s multiple goals, Meria’s own goal, and Hwang Ui-jo’s additional goal.
South Korea recorded 1 draw and 1 loss in the last two matches against Tunisia. He was evaluated as a difficult player as he did not score a single goal. However, Korea, led by Lee Kang-in’s overwhelming performance, was different from the past.
Lee Kang-in scored his A-match debut goal with a free kick goal in the second half. Afterwards, he scored an additional goal with an accurate shot, completely filling the void left by Son Heung-min. It was a day where we were able to see the perfect offensive and defensive performance of ‘New Captain’ Kim Min-jae and Hwang Ui-jo’s killer instinct.
The following is a Q&A with national soccer team coach Jürgen Klinsmann.
Q. General review of the game.
It was a very satisfying and good game. I’m really happy. He said that if he could show the same performance on the pitch as he had shown in training over the past three days, there would be good results. And it was exactly right. Our players gave their all. In one-on-one situations, he did not back down and struck stronger and more decisively. He is showing improvement in every game. I am also happy that the players themselves feel that their performance is improving. Of course, we will continue to prepare well in the future.
Q. Son Heung-min took a break.
He was not feeling well and needed rest. It seems like he kept running even when he wasn’t at 100%. Nevertheless, my will to participate was very strong. However, managing my condition was important to me. A healthy Son Heung-min is needed for both the Asian Cup and the World Cup Asian second qualifiers.
Q. You said you were worried about Son Heung-min’s condition, so why did you select him?
I communicate with Son Heung-min every day. All Tottenham officials know this, so there is no difficulty in communication. I also talked with the director (Enze Postecoglou). It is true that Son Heung-min was called up with the hope of playing against Tunisia. It’s a shame he didn’t do that, but he needed to rest.
Q. The role of the defensive midfielder is important. The reason why Jung Woo-young was not selected.
We are continuously checking Jung Woo-young’s performance. He also knows that he is showing good form. However, he wants to give Park Yong-woo a chance and see if he can grow. So far it looks good. What I am missing now is Son Jun-ho. He is a player who can fulfill the role of number 6 or number 8 in our opinion. I don’t know what the situation is like in China, but I hope it’s resolved well and I have positive news.
Q. Minjae Kim became the new captain and led the players.
Minjae Kim is a prepared leader. He is doing well in his leadership role on the playground. Young players are also receiving great help. Young players are learning a lot from what Kim Min-jae is showing. He is a leader who should be the center along with Son Heung-min. Actually, there are many leaders on our team. There are times when Lee Jae-sung takes on the role of leader, and Hwang Hee-chan is also maturing. The role of leaders is very important. It is also important to show progress as a team.
Hwang In-beom had a muscle problem during warm-up. He had to be replaced by Hong Hyun-seok in a situation where health was the top priority. He told Hong Hyun-seok, “Show yourself as you are, show your skills,” and he did it well. If the juniors show this kind of attitude when the seniors are injured, we can expect to see them in big competitions as well.
Q. There was a big difference in performance between the first half and the second half. What instructions did you give at halftime?
Actually, the first half wasn’t bad either. There was just a lack of detail at the doorstep. In the second half, he ordered that while maintaining the good performance shown in the first half, we should make bolder and more aggressive moves. We hoped to utilize the space behind Tunisia’s flanks. Lee Kang-in broke down the defensive line well and as a result was awarded a free kick. In the end, the players performed well.
The game of top-level players comes down to mental strength. Our players are perfect and good in terms of technique and physicality. My role is to develop mental strength. The players showed what I hoped for. The important thing now is that players should enjoy soccer and have fun. I was able to confirm this through Lee Kang-in. The role of the coaches, of course, is to build the players’ confidence and utilize 100% of their abilities. For now, I am satisfied in many ways.