Head coaches of South Korea's top six pro football clubs on Tuesday asked fans to trust the beleaguered men's national team boss Shin Tae-yong, saying he needs more time and support.
South Korea, ranked 51st in the latest FIFA rankings, have yet to collect a victory under Shin, who took over the helm in July following Uli Stielike's exit.
Shin managed to guide South Korea to the 2018 FIFA World Cup last month after getting two scoreless draws with Iran and Uzbekistan, but was criticized for the team's poor performance. And after Guus Hiddink, who previously led South Korea to the 2002 FIFA World Cup semifinals, expressed his intention to help the national team, some fans have been demanding that the Dutchman replace Shin.
Coaches for six football clubs in the K League Classic pose for a group photo in front of the league`s championship trophy before their press conference at the Korea Football Association building in Seoul on Oct. 10, 2017. From left to right are: FC Seoul`s Hwang Sun-hong; Ulsan Hyundai`s Kim Do-hoon; Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors` Choi Kang-hee; Jeju United`s Jo Sung-hwan; Suwon Samsung Bluewings` Seo Jung-won; Gangwon FC`s Park Hyo-jin. (Yonhap)
Shin had an opportunity to silence his critics last week when his side faced the 2018 World Cup hosts Russia, but South Korea suffered a 4-2 loss, which included two own goals.
South Korean head coaches in the top-tier K League Classic, however, said this is the time that fans should give more support to Shin and the national players.
"It's true that the current situation is not that good," Suwon Samsung Bluewings head coach Seo Jung-won, who is also member of the Korea Football Association technical committee, said during a K League media event. "I think we can't blame one specific thing. What's really important at this point is that the national team needs more support."
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors head coach Choi Kang-hee, who previously led South Korea from 2011 to 2013, said fans need to give more energy to Shin, although solving national team issues isn't easy.
"We can't simply talk about national team issues because it's too big and broad, but what's certain is that we need to have a trust," he said. "I've coached the national team before, and what I felt was that without fans' trust from qualifying round to the finals, any coach will have a difficult time."
Kim Do-hoon, who coaches Ulsan Hyundai, said that fans should put their trust in the players because too much criticism can influence their game.
"The players will not be able to perform well if they're under pressure," Kim said. "I think we should trust our players and wait so that they can display their best performance."
South Korea will have their second friendly match under Shin later Tuesday when they take on Morocco in Switzerland. Hwang Sun-hong, a prolific striker for South Korea who now guides FC Seoul, said the players need to show do-or-die efforts for fans. Hwang is also member of the KFA technical committee.
"It's very hard to play a good game, but what they can control is their effort and passion for football," Hwang said. "Maybe what people want to see from the national team is not a 5-0 or a 6-0 victory, but its devotion and attitude to give its best."
Jeju United head coach Jo Sung-hwan said he hopes the national team builds good atmosphere through the upcoming friendly.
"The national team needs confidence and good atmosphere," he said. "As a member of South Korean football community, I will give my best support to the national team today." (Yonhap)