Bento, who was appointed as the men's national football boss on Aug. 17, will make his South Korean coaching debut on Friday when the national team takes on Costa Rica in a friendly match at Goyang Stadium in Goyang, north of Seoul. The kickoff time is 8 p.m.
"I'm happy and positive that I can now play with the South Korean national team," Bento said during a press conference at Goyang Stadium. "Although we didn't train for a long time, I want to show what we practiced."
|South Korea national football team head coach Paulo Bento speaks during a press conference at Goyang Stadium in Goyang, north of Seoul, on Sept. 6, 2018, one day ahead of his team`s friendly football match against Costa Rica. (Yonhap)|
Bento has been training with South Korean players at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, since Monday.
"I want to check whether we can possess the ball and control the game against good opponents," he said. "I really want to find that my football philosophy can be displayed on the pitch tomorrow."
Despite working with them for a short period of time, the 49-year-old Portuguese said he found that South Korean players are open-mined and have a good understanding of football.
"They are eager to learn and understand quickly," he said. "The players are also great at understanding situations in the game."
When asked about his plan for South Korea's football ace Son Heung-min, Bento refused to talk in detail but confirmed he will start the Tottenham Hotspur forward against Costa Rica.
"I don't usually open up about our match tactics, but I can assure you that Son will be a starting member," he said. "We'll see tomorrow how long he will play on the pitch and where he will play."
But Bento, who formerly coached Cristiano Ronaldo when he was with the Portuguese national team, said he will not rely only on Son.
"I'm a believer who trusts talented players, but I put the team first ahead of them," he said.
Among his 24-man roster, eight players competed at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia, where South Korea grabbed a gold medal.
Bento said it's important to keep the good mood going for South Korean football.
"They really won the title at an important period," he said. "I think it important to maintain this good atmosphere for national teams of all age levels." (Yonhap)