Go to Contents Go to Navigation

With narrow lead at top of K League, Ulsan coach stresses importance of focus

All News 10:22 August 14, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Aug. 14 (Yonhap) -- Ulsan Hyundai FC are entering a key rival match this weekend in the K League 1 with a narrow lead at the top of the table.

And head coach Kim Do-hoon believes mental fortitude will be as important as anything players do physically on the field.

This file photo, provided by the Korea Professional Football League, shows Lee Chung-yong of Ulsan Hyundai FC (No. 72) celebrating a goal against Pohang Steelers in a K League 1 match at Pohang Steel Yard in Pohang, 360 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on June 6, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Ulsan will host Pohang Steelers at 7 p.m. Saturday at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan, 415 kilometers southeast of Seoul. Their matches have been dubbed the "East Coast Derby," given their relative proximity along the east coast, with Pohang lying about 80 kilometers north of Ulsan.

Ulsan won the first meeting of the season in June by 4-0, and the second showdown comes at a crucial moment for both.

Ulsan's lead over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors have been cut to just one point, 36 to 35, following last weekend's action. While Ulsan were held to a scoreless draw by lowly Suwon Samsung Bluewings, Jeonbuk blanked Daegu FC 2-0.

Pohang are in a battle for third place, which would get them into next year's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League. At 25 points, Pohang trail Sangju Sangmu by three points, and they are winless in their last three matches.

Ulsan Hyundai FC head coach Kim Do-hoon speaks at a press conference at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan, 415 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Aug. 13, 2020, in this photo provided by Ulsan. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"This will be a huge one for both teams, and I have faith in our players' ability to shake off that pressure," Kim said in a prematch press conference, according to a transcript provided by Ulsan on Friday. "These derby matches always demand a great focus. We have to stay sharp mentally right through the end."

Kim downplayed the notion that Ulsan should have an easy time beating Pohang again based on their previous result.

"In that last match, Pohang came up with some modified tactics, and we were able to respond to them," Kim said. "But that was then, and this is now. This season, it's never been about what our opponents do. It's about how we prepare and what type of football we play."

Kim also apologized for his players' postmatch argument with referees following last week's match. Kim had to sprint all the way from his bench to the middle of the field to break off the scrum and order his players back to their lockers, before tensions escalated further.

"In this sport, your emotions can sometimes get the better of you," Kim said. "I told the players that we shouldn't have a repeat of what happened then."

This file photo, provided by the Korea Professional Football League, shows Ulsan Hyundai FC (in blue) and Pohang Steelers competing in a K League 1 match at Pohang Steel Yard in Pohang, 360 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on June 6, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)

Keywords
Issue Keywords
Most Liked
Most Saved
Most Viewed More
HOME TOP
Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!