South Korean defender Lee Yong said Thursday his national teammates are eager to display their talent to the new head coach and that will lead to good performances in the upcoming friendly match against Costa Rica.
Lee is one of the 24 footballers who were selected by Paulo Bento for South Korea's friendly matches against Costa Rica and Chile. South Korea will first take on Costa Rica on Friday and then face Chile four days later.
Lee said the players are set to deliver positive results in Bento's South Korea coaching debut.
South Korea national football team defender Lee Yong speaks during a press conference at Goyang Stadium in Goyang, north of Seoul, on Sept. 6, 2018, one day ahead of South Korea`s friendly football match against Costa Rica. (Yonhap)
"I think he (Bento) has passion and strong character," Lee said during a press conference at Goyang Stadium in Goyang, north of Seoul, where South Korea will host Costa Rica. "Since the new coach has arrived, the players are eager to show their forte and skills, so I think we'll have a good game."
The Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors right back, who has 31 caps, said the players are also determined to absorb what Bento teaches during training.
"Whether it's offense or defense, I think he is very straight forward in tactics," he said. "Whether it's about pressing or defense positioning, he is also detailed. It's important for us to understand his football philosophy quickly."
Lee, who played in all three of South Korea's matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, said he likes Bento's approach of telling the players what to do in detail and showing customized methods to make improvements.
Bento brought four backroom staff members with him when signing with South Korea. They are chief assistant coach Sergio Costa, assistant coach Filipe Coelho, goalkeeping coach Vitor Silvestre and fitness coach Pedro Pereira.
"Bento and his coaching staff tell us what to do one by one, and they're very systematic," he said. "They told me things that I should do when I'm doing my personal training. They're very helpful."
Lee, who is the oldest player on the South Korean squad at age 31, will have to compete for the right back position with Kim Moon-hwan, who earned his first senior team selection with his gold medal performance at the Asian Games. Lee said Kim is a "good partner."
"He is a very aggressive player, and I think he is better than me in attack," he said. "Although he is younger than me, I think I have something to learn from him." (Yonhap)