South Korea football coach Shin Tae-yong vowed Sunday to rebound from disappointing performances in recent weeks, saying his side will show the utmost effort toward a turnaround starting next month.
Shin returned home after two friendly matches in Europe and inspections of possible training bases for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
He also interviewed candidates for foreign assistant and fitness coach positions for the men's national team in Germany.
|Shin Tae-yong (Yonhap)|
Shin was supposed to talk with reporters at Incheon International Airport earlier in the morning following his arrival from the European trip but later decided to hold the press briefing at Korea Football Association House in Seoul, since some angry fans were waiting for him at an arrival gate holding a placard reading, "South Korean football is dead."
"I didn't expect such an incident would happen at the airport and honestly, I didn't feel comfortable," Shin said at the press conference. "But I believe they're also fans who love South Korean football, so we'll have to work harder."
Shin is in hot water for the national team's dismal performance. The 46-year-old, who took over the helm in July, has yet to collect a win with the national team, although he guided South Korea to World Cup qualification.
After posting two scoreless draws with Iran and Uzbekistan in the final Asian World Cup qualifying round last month, Shin's side lost 4-2 to the World Cup hosts Russia in Moscow on Oct. 7 and fell 3-2 to Morocco last Tuesday in Switzerland in a pair of friendly matches.
"I know the fans are disappointed with us, but we'll make progress from November," he said. "From next month, we'll pick core players for the national team and will start to build the team around them."
Following the disappointing results, South Korea are likely to see their lowest FIFA ranking this year when the October list is revealed Monday. They're currently ranked 51st in the world but are expected to fall out of the top 60.
"It's going to be better for us to improve our FIFA ranking before the World Cup, but I think we'll be in pot 4 (for the World Cup draw)," he said. "At this point, I only want to think about having a solid roadmap for the World Cup rather than raising our FIFA ranking."
Some football fans have been calling for Shin's head, while urging the Korea Football Association to bring Guus Hiddink back to his old job. The Dutch tactician, who previously led South Korea to the 2002 World Cup semifinals, recently said he is willing to help South Korea, although he will not take an official position within the national team.
Shin said he doesn't want to be bothered by the Hiddink issue.
"When I first took the job, my priority was to lead South Korea to qualify for the World Cup, and I achieved that goal," he said.
"I can't understand why such unfortunate things are happening to us. I don't want to think about it."
Against Russia and Morocco, South Korea sent a squad of overseas-based players, since those in the domestic K League were not available due to their club schedules. Shin previously lamented that he had limited options for certain positions.
South Korea are scheduled to have two more friendly matches next month at home, although their opponents have yet to be confirmed. Shin emphasized that South Korea is in the process of putting together a team.
"I will summon the best players in the nation next month," he said. "But we don't have to put too much emphasis on friendlies. I would choose to perform well in the World Cup rather than play good games in friendlies. Even though we are having a difficult time, I'm sure South Korean football will be recognized next June (at the World Cup)."
For the November friendlies, Shin said he hopes foreign coaches can join the national team.
"I met lots of good foreign coaches in our meeting in Russia," he said. "If they can join and help us from next month, we'll act as one unit and will be able to push the players further."
Shin, who previously guided South Korea's under-23 and under-20 squads, said that he will try to upgrade the players' mental strength as well as the team's defense.
"I will first try to ensure a strong mentality before asking the players to think about what fans really want," he said. "From now on, we'll pick players who perform regularly with their respective clubs and who can make sacrifices for the national team." (Yonhap)