“Until the Asian Cup, I want you to create positive public opinion…. and criticize afterwards.”
Jürgen Klinsmann, head coach of the A team. After the European tour, Klinsmann’s squad returned home through Incheon International Airport on Thursday. The overseas players returned to their respective leagues, and the K-Ligers and Klinsmann arrived. Initially, Klinsmann was scheduled to stay in Europe to check on German players such as Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich). However, the schedule was suddenly changed. The Korea Football Association (KFA) said on its official channel on the 13th, “Coach Klinsmann was originally scheduled to watch Bayern Munich play in the German Bundesliga this week, visit European clubs, meet with officials, and analyze with the European coaching staff before returning home, but he changed his schedule at today’s coaching staff meeting to start checking K League players before the October roster announcement,” the KFA said.
The KFA reportedly strongly requested Klinsmann’s return to Korea as public opinion against him had turned sour. Given the current situation, Klinsmann reportedly accepted the request. In an interview after his return, Klinsmann said, “I think there are positives to take away from this. “A lot of people were waiting for me, so I came in. (Laughs) The federation told me that the coach usually comes in with the players after an international trip. I didn’t have a problem with the rescheduling, and I thought it was the right thing to do. I also wanted to try a new experience where I was welcomed by a lot of people after a friendly match.”
Korean soccer is caught in a whirlwind of ‘cleanliness’. From his appointment to now, controversy has surrounded him. Klinsmann was appointed as the successor to Paulo Bento in February. From the moment the news broke that Klinsmann was the favorite, public opinion was negative. A world-class player during his playing days, Klinsmann boasts one of the best careers of any South Korean coach, but his transition to coaching has been plagued by frequent rumors. Aside from leading the German national team to a third-place finish at the World Cup, Klinsmann hasn’t made much of a mark. Rather, he was criticized for his frequent trips to the United States, his lack of tactical ability, his preference for foreign players, and his habit of announcing his resignation on social media, especially during his time at Hertha Berlin.
Most of all, there was frustration with the lack of a system in place to select a coach. Unlike the appointment of Bento, Klinsmann did not have a concrete and transparent system in place. The coach selection committee has become a sham, literally picked by the president of the Korean Football Association, Chung Mong-kyu. Michael Mueller, the first-ever foreigner to head the national team, rambled and failed to answer any questions at the press conference announcing Klinsmann’s appointment, leaving fans stunned.
Eventually, Klinsmann took matters into his own hands. At the press conference, Mr. Klinsmann gave a straightforward answer that quelled some of the complaints. The public opinion also turned to watch the appointment. In the March A match, Klinsmann, who fielded the same Qatar World Cup squad, showed promise, playing more straightforward soccer than under Ventura. It raised the prospect of the Asian Cup, which Klinsmann had stated from the start.
But the honeymoon was short-lived. Klinsmann, who had promised to stay at home, was criticized for his frequent trips abroad. Klinsmann’s frequent trips to the U.S. have been criticized since his time with the German national team, and in announcing his appointment, the federation emphasized his decision to stay in Korea. Klinsmann himself said he would “stay in Korea”. But the reality was different. Klinsmann has already traveled abroad four times since his appointment. In six months, he spent only 67 days in Korea.
Naturally, he hasn’t been able to follow the K League. In the case of Ahn Hyun-beom (Jeonbuk Hyundai), who made his debut in the last A match, he even made the mistake of selecting a player without seeing him in person and not utilizing him properly. When I looked away from Krieger, I was focused on Europe. In some cases, players from the German third division were selected. Dissatisfaction was growing, but Klinsmann seemed to be focusing on outside activities. He appeared on a panel for an international soccer program and talked about Tottenham, Lionel Messi, and Harry Kane. He skipped the roster parade, gave interviews to foreign media, and traveled to the European Champions League group stage draw. Klinsmann gave his thoughts in an online chat from the United States, but public opinion worsened.
The European trip added fuel to the fire. Klinsmann traveled to England for a two-game series against Wales and Saudi Arabia. The team was overshadowed by external issues. Before departure, there was a lot of noise about the team’s frequent trips abroad, the omission of Rieger, and the favoritism toward Europeans. He insisted on playing in a charity match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea, and it was reported that he asked Wales captain Aaron Ramsey to swap jerseys for his son. With things going badly, he gave nearly an hour-long interview to reporters who traveled to the area, including Sports Chosun, but said, “I don’t need to watch the K League,” and “I won’t change. If you don’t like it, find another coach,” leaving fans stunned.
First and foremost, we didn’t play well. They finally got their first win in Saudi Arabia with a 1-0 victory thanks to a goal from Cho Kyu-sung (Meatwillan), but it was a disappointing performance. The previous five matches were all winless. Klinsmann’s side played Colombia (2-2 draw), Uruguay (1-2 loss), Peru (0-1 loss), and El Salvador (1-1 draw) in March and drew 2-2. Their first A-Match opponent in September, Wales, was nearly 1.5 times the strength of their opponents, but they were left empty-handed, managing just one shot on target. The Europeans had been on fire the weekend before, including a hat-trick from Son Heung-min, but were silent when they changed into their national team gear.
To make matters worse, they didn’t even know their positions. Hong Hyun-seok, the previous multi-goal scorer, looked lost on the flanks instead of in the center, and Lee Soon-min, the best defensive midfielder in the K League, was used as an attacking midfielder. Naturally, the game was not going to go well. It was Klinsmann’s longest winless streak since taking over. “We’re getting better and better,” he says, but the team is so colorless that the word “colorless” doesn’t even begin to describe it. He screams attacking football, but has only scored five goals in six games. It’s a lack of detail and a lot of do-it-yourself soccer. Unfortunately, the current national team boasts the best squad ever. Public discontent is at an all-time high.
Klinsmann says the team is on a positive path, and he wants to judge himself at the Asian Cup in Qatar in January. “It’s all about getting to the Asian Cup,” Klinsmann said. We are confident that we will do well. Of course, if we don’t do well, we will be criticized and tested. That’s the fate of a coach. But I have a lot of experience with tournaments,” he continued. “We don’t have much time before the October A matches. After the October A matches, we have the World Cup qualifiers. I’m in Korea now, but I’ll be traveling back and forth to watch the games in Europe.”
Klinsmann is also attracting interest from the German national team, whose vacancy has recently been filled. He shrugged it off, saying, “Right now, I’m focused on winning the Asian Cup.” “I haven’t heard anything” about Lee Kang-in’s possible absence from the Asian Games. I am in close communication with Luis Enrique. I don’t think there will be a problem with him being called up as he is an official A-match player.”
Finally, Klinsmann called for positive support. “No matter how strong we are internally, if there is negative publicity outside, the team will falter. That’s what happened with Germany at the World Cup in Qatar. Everything was negative, and they were knocked out in the group stage. The national team is, after all, the people’s team. Until the Asian Cup, we need everyone to create a positive atmosphere and a good result will be possible.”
-How it feels to be back in Korea.
I’m glad to be here. I wish I could have seen you guys in the UK. Every time we convene, it seems like we’re in a pretty good mood. I think we can find a lot of positives. The March, the June, and now the September one, I feel like there’s a lot of that and how much we’ve improved internally and how much we’re building towards the Asian Cup and how we’re going through this process. I think that’s something that I’ve been thinking about and discussing with my staff as we’ve been playing, whether it’s Cardiff, whether it’s Newcastle, how we’re growing and developing and how we need to prepare for the next call-up.
-On the change in schedule.
(Laughs) I heard that a lot of people were waiting for me, so I decided to come. (Laughs) But first of all, I heard that a lot of people in the association were also talking about it, and they said that usually when the players come back from overseas tours, the coaches usually come back together, so I thought about that again. In fact, I was scheduled to watch the Bayern Munich-Leverkusen game again this week, but it wasn’t a big deal to change the schedule, so I thought it was right for me to travel with the team, so I came in. I will see you all again this weekend at the K League. When I was working in Germany or the United States, it was actually a new experience because it was rare for me to be welcomed by so many people when I went abroad like this, especially after a friendly match, so it was a new experience to be welcomed by so many people again, so I heard a lot of stories this time and made this change in schedule.
-Whether he will play again after the October A match.
I’ve got some traveling to do. Because there are some matches that we have to watch now in Europe and abroad, so we have that schedule, but we don’t have a lot of time left until the October A matches, so actually, starting from England, after the match, we’re going to analyze with the coaching staff and the next opponents and how to prepare for the next matches and, you know, we only have two friendlies left. After the October friendlies, we’re going to go straight into the World Cup qualifiers, so we’re still thinking about how we’re going to prepare and how we’re going to organize and how we’re going to set up the team and how we’re going to set up the team. Anyway, after the end of October, we are going to go to the World Cup qualifiers and the Asian Cup, and I think we have to show a better performance with many of you there. Actually, having Son Heung-min and Kim Min-jae back in the squad for this call-up was quite a big boost for us, and it helped us a lot as a team. So, obviously, it’s important for those two players to stay healthy and keep going together, and now, as you know, we don’t have much time left. We don’t have a lot of time until the next call-up, so I think we have to continue to analyze ourselves internally and also our next opponents and prepare for the upcoming matches.
-Public opinion is not good.
We’ve got a pretty positive team vibe that’s been going on. In March, as you know, we had the same players that played in the World Cup, and then in June and September we had a lot of changes. With the loss of key players and the new numbers that we’ve brought in, it’s been a bit of a test of how we’re going to build the team again, and we’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to build the team and how we’re going to build the team and how we’re going to develop and grow with these players and how we’re going to build the team and how we’re going to develop and grow with these players and how we’re going to build the team as we go forward to the Asian Cup in Qatar. We’re trying to have a very positive team atmosphere in that regard. Every time we call these guys up, they’re getting a little bit more of an understanding of what our coaching staff is looking for and how we want to run the team and things like that, so I’d say that’s a positive thing. It’s not too far away, but at the end of the day, it’s the Asian Cup. In order to do well at the Asian Cup, we have a lot of confidence that we will do well and we have a lot of expectations, but in the process, obviously, we have to improve and correct a lot of things, but how we prepare for that process, and the scouting part is the opponent analysis. I think it will be key to analyze the opponent and how we analyze their key players and prepare by watching their games, and we are going through that process of developing and growing together in a positive way.
First of all, as an association and as a team, there are bound to be quite a few changes after a big competition to prepare for the next one. In that change, there may be various other issues, and there are various other processes, and it would be great to satisfy all of them as an association and as a team, but in the end, I think that the result should be evaluated when we go to a big competition and have a good result. And how we grow as a team and how we prepare for the next tournament after finishing another big tournament in this process will be important, and from November, it is now the real thing, and before that, we had eight A matches, and obviously, there are many things that are a little unsatisfactory during this A match period, but in the end, we will prepare well so that we can go to the Asian Cup with the best players and have the best squad and do well.
-On emphasizing the Asian Cup and not performing well.
Once again, the Asian Cup is the goal. In our coaching era, especially, the players are preparing now for the Asian Cup, and of course, if the results are not good, the fans, the media in front of you, of course, will ask me questions and criticize me, and then I think I will be put to the test, and I think that’s the fate of a coach. But I think I have a lot of experience with tournaments and I’ve always enjoyed them quite a bit, both as a coach and as a player. I think I’ve always enjoyed playing tournaments, both as a coach and as a player, and I’ve always enjoyed playing tournaments. I’ve been to the Euro, I’ve been to the World Cup, I’ve been to a lot of tournaments, and I have that experience of how to prepare a team, how to build a team, so I have that idea of building a team that’s good enough, and I think that’s a positive factor. I think the most important thing is that our players are healthy, and I think it’s very important to go to the Asian Cup, and Son Heung-min and Kim Min-jae are healthy. Hwang Hee-chan was also not at 100% when we called up this time as he was recovering from a hamstring injury, and Lee Kang-in is also out with an injury right now, so if these players are healthy again and prepare well together, I think we can definitely go to Qatar with a good team, good players, and the best team possible.바카라
At the end of the day, again, the Asian Cup is our biggest goal for now. When the big tournament is over and we are preparing for the next one, we need to have a very positive public opinion, a very positive strength and a very positive team, and only then we can succeed. No matter how strong we are internally, no matter how positive the message is, if there are external factors, if there are a lot of people, if there is a lot of negativity, if there is a lot of negativity, the team will be shaken. The German national team at the World Cup in Qatar is a great example. They were criticized a lot right before the World Cup, everything was negative, everything surrounding the team was negative, and in the end, they were eliminated, they were eliminated in the group stage, and they went home. I think it would be very helpful for the team to have that kind of positive publicity, that kind of positive vibe, that kind of energy, and for the players to have that kind of energy, especially because it’s a national team, it’s a people’s team, it’s a team that represents the country, so I think it would be very helpful for the team to have that kind of positive atmosphere. As I said before, I think it’s never too late to criticize when you’re not performing or when you’re not getting the results you want. What I’m saying is that until Qatar, I think if we create a positive atmosphere with all of you, the fans, the players, the coaching staff, the media, I think we can have a better synergy and a better result.
-On interest from the German national team.
For now, we will focus on bringing home the Asian Cup trophy.
-How did you get the Ramsey jersey?
Actually, the physiotherapist at the team my son plays for asked for it, so I have it now. The physio is Welsh. I don’t know if it’s become this big of a deal, I didn’t know it was going to be this big of a deal, but I will say that the sad part of it is that after it came out in the press, my son’s social media got a lot of criticism, which was a little bit bad, and I feel a little bit bad about that, because I have a lot of players’ jerseys at home, not just Ramsey’s, so I’ve exchanged a lot of jerseys in my 40 years of football.
-On Lee Kang-in’s Asian Cup suspension.
I haven’t heard anything about that. I heard that he’s still recovering, but for now, Enrique and I are talking and texting about him. Anyway, the Asian Cup is an A-match period, so I’m not too worried about it because it’s a period that FIFA can call up players.