He’s back. Former national team midfielder Yoo Sang-chul returned to top-flight football after being appointed as the new manager of Daejeon Citizen FC last week.
Speaking at his first news conference Wednesday, Yoo said he was ready for a new challenge.
But the 39-year-old admitted that he has a huge task to rebuild and reshape the team. He knew that his appointment came at a difficult time.
The K-League is facing the worst crisis in its history as the fallout from a match-fixing scandal continues to grow involving at least 40 players. Three players from Daejeon were also arrested earlier in the probe, and manager Wang Sun-jae has resigned, taking moral responsibility for the case.
Changing the mentality of the team is the most urgent task, Yoo said.
“It’s a difficult time. But I saw potential from the players, and I’m quite positive about the future of the team,” he said, adding that he is confident they will be able to make progress.
Yoo, who is considered one of the most versatile Korean midfielders, started his professional career with Ulsan Hyundai in 1994. He also played in the Japanese top division league under the Yokohama Marinos and also Kashiwa Reysol.
He made 122 appearances for the Korean national team, scoring 18 goals, including one in the 2-0 win against Poland during the 2002 World Cup. Yoo was also part of the 1998 World team and the 2004 Olympics.
After retiring from professional football in 2006, the former Korean international took charge of a high school team from 2009 until recently.
The newly appointed manager said he is now focused on making an early impact for Daejeon, which is currently sitting 15th in the 16-team league table, but insists: “I’m not planning to change the team overnight, but I’m going to slowly develop the team.”
“Daejeon has no star players, so we must build strong teamwork,” he added.
The former national midfielder noted that he would employ a more fast-paced style, relying on short passes.
Yoo is to make his debut match against Gangwon FC on Saturday. Asked about the upcoming game, Yoo said he felt under pressure to prepare for the game. “I wish I had at least one more week to prepare. But I’ll do my best, and I can promise that I can bring some changes to the team,” he added.
By Oh Kyu-wook (email@example.com)