“Have you seen Jung Ho-yeon? I think that proves it. He’s better (compared to Lee Soon-min), not better than him.

The star of Gwangju FC, one of the poorer clubs in K-League 1, is head coach Lee Jung-hyo. His year since promotion last year has been a refreshing shock to the culture of professional soccer. He was criticized as a spicier version of former Jeonbuk Hyundai manager Choi Kang-hee (currently the head coach of Shandong Taishan in China), who politely dissed his opponents.

This year, Lee is in his second year of promotion. There are expectations that it won’t be easy as opponents have put Lee’s dazzling ‘Jeong Hyo-ball’ under the microscope, 토토사이트 추천 but there are also mixed expectations that the team will deliver similar or better results than last year’s third-place finish.

The opening match against FC Seoul on the 2nd resulted in a 2-0 victory. Seoul, who used to play “that kind of soccer,” showed that they are not a team that will go down in flames, even though they are in the process of changing under new head coach Kim Ki-dong, who brought in a “mobile strike force” from the Pohang Steelers.

They turned a first-half deficit into a second-half response and successfully rattled Gwangju, showing improved decisiveness and the potential to turn the spotlight on the former Manchester United man.

After the game, Lee said, “I’m glad we won, but it was a very disappointing game. We should have played consistent Gwangju soccer in the first and second half, but there was a sense of anxiety to protect (the 10-goal lead),” he said.

This dissatisfaction was reflected on the bench during the game. When the players weren’t moving forward in attacking situations, he shouted at them to get up. He even threw his muffler onto the bench in frustration.

Seoul lined up thick in the middle. Palošević played as an attacking midfielder, while Han Seung-kyu and Ki Sung-yueng linked up in front of the defense. Seoul had the advantage in experience.

However, Gwangju has the ability to play multiple positions with one player. It’s an anomaly that defies normalization, and against Pohang, it came to the fore again. In particular, the struggles of the Jung Ho-yeon-Choi Kyung-rok line against Ki Sung-yong-Han Seung-kyu and the disorganized distribution of the ball made a strong impression.

Jung Ho-yeon was one of the key players in last year’s Asian Games gold medal in Hangzhou. His ability to withstand pressure in the midfield and pass to the front was outstanding. Once again, he showed the full range of his abilities.

Coincidentally, it was a performance that erased the memory of Daejeon Hana Citizen’s Lee Soon-min, who had played the previous day’s opening match against Jeonbuk Hyundai. Lee Soon-min was Gwangju’s sole A-team resource last year. While he was largely ignored by former coach Jürgen Klinsmann at the 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar, it’s hard to deny that he has grown into the A team.

Lee’s growth has been made possible by Lee’s rigorous training regimen. “He came back as if it was his first time playing (Gwangju soccer),” Lee said of Lee Soon-min, who returned to the team after playing an A match last September. It was a little hard to catch him and give him advice. I changed his positioning in defense and attack a lot,” he said, emphasizing that it was possible because of his detailed guidance.

Lee Soon-min left Gwangju for Daejeon with a transfer fee, and he adapted like a player who had been playing for a long time. Daejeon head coach Lee Min-sung had the highest praise for Lee, saying, “It’s like he’s been with Daejeon forever.”

Lee announced his transfer from Qatar during the Asian Cup. Officials airlifted a Daejeon jersey to make it ‘official’. A Gwangju official said, “The coach felt that it was difficult to catch Lee Soon-min and let him go without regret,” signaling that he was now a definite man.

Instead, they started selling players. Jung Ho-yeon, who had been rumored to be transferred to Celtic, was the one to sell. “Didn’t you see Jung Ho-yeon, I think that proves it. If he’s better than Lee Sun-min, he’s better than Lee Sun-min, and I don’t think he’s not good enough,” he told the press.

Hwang Sun-hong, the interim head coach of the Korea A National Team and head coach of the Olympic soccer team, was in Gwangju to observe Jeong Ho-yeon. After Jeonbuk-Daejeon, he came to watch Gwangju-Seoul. The central midfield position they shared was the same position Park Yong-woo (Al Ain) played at the Asian Cup. It’s a vulnerable position. When asked by the press if he saw Jung Ho-yeon, Hwang was also asked if he watched the game from the same position.

“Until I met coach (Lee Jung-hyo), I was a player who thought I could only play a few games in the K League. Now, I feel like I’m a player who dreams bigger and looks farther ahead as a player,” he said, explaining his transformation.

“It’s not that I have more pressure because Lee Soon-min is out, but Gamdo’s soccer is about all players following the tactics together. As long as we fulfill our duties, it will work well,” he said, emphasizing that Jung Hyo-bol is a cog in the wheel.

It’s not like he doesn’t dream of making the A team. “That’s why we met (with Lee) before the season. He told me to stick to the basics and keep improving,” he said, adding that if he stays loyal to Gwangju, the possibility of being selected will become a reality.

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