Team K League head coach Hong Myung-bo, Kim Young-kwon, and Se Jing-ya share their thoughts on facing Spanish giants Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Coupang Play Series.
Team K League will host Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Coupang Play Series at 8 p.m. on Nov. 27 at Seoul World Cup Stadium. Team K League opponent Atletico is one of the top three teams in the Spanish La Liga along with Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Founded in 1903, Atletico has won 11 La Liga titles, 10 Copa del Rey titles, and three UEFA Europa League titles, and has had world-class star players such as Jan Oblak, Koke, Antoine Griezmann, and Memphis Depay.
After arriving at Incheon International Airport on May 25, Atletico began acclimatizing to Korea with a morning training session at Seongnam FC’s training center on May 26. On the 30th, they will face Manchester City (England), who won the treble last season, at the Seoul World Cup Stadium.
Head coach Hong Myung-bo announced his 22-man roster for the Coupang Play Series on Nov. 19. He will be joined by K-League players such as Lee In-gyu (Ulsan Hyundai), Na Sang-ho (FC Seoul), Lee Seung-woo (Suwon FC), and Se Jing-ya (Daegu FC) to face Atletico.
At a press conference held a day before the match, Hong Myung-bo, Kim Young-kwon, and Sejing-ya shared their thoughts on participating in the Coupang Play Series.
“We are grateful to the Coupang Play Federation for organizing a good match even though it is in the middle of the season,” said Hong Myung-bo. Congratulations to the players who were selected for the Team K League. I would like to thank Atlético for coming to Korea for the sake of Korean soccer, and I would like to thank Team K League as well, even though the conditions were not perfect for both teams. It’s not a competitive match, but I personally hope that the players selected for Team K will play with pride and represent the league with pride. There shouldn’t be any injuries, but I want them to show a passionate and impressive performance for the fans who support Team K League.”
Kim Young-kwon added, “I agree with the coach. The players selected here are the best players in the K League, the best players. It’s important that they don’t get injured. There are a lot of people coming, and we will do our best to repay them on the field.”
Sejingya added, “First of all, I’m happy and grateful to be selected as an All-Star again. I’m grateful for the fan vote and it will be a great experience. I will do my best to give back the love I received from the fans.”
The following is a one-on-one Q&A with Hong Myung-bo, Kim Young-kwon, and Se Jing-ya.
-Do you think events like this help to expand the reach of soccer?
Hong: “I think so. I think it’s an important game that can give dreams to young children in the future. It’s a game with the best and most popular players in the league. I think it’s a good event that can create a soccer boom. When I was in Japan, there was an All-Star Game, and the United States also has an important sporting event called the All-Star Game. When I saw that, I realized that the K League has a history of having an all-star game, but nowadays, overseas teams come in and play against K League teams. I want the All-Star Game to be a game that doesn’t stop at the All-Star Game. Playing too loosely would have been difficult if we had a tight schedule, but the players are well-rested and should be able to play 45 minutes. I’ve done my research and the players are in good shape. We will prepare well to show a good performance.
-Did Daegu head coach Choi Won-kwon say anything about the playing time of the players, especially Sejingya?
“I don’t want to get hung up on playing time. We’ve had enough rest, and we have enough time before the league. I don’t want one player to play 90 minutes. We will distribute the time as much as possible and adjust the players accordingly. Some players will play 60 or 70 minutes. You need to have a reserve in case of an injury. We’ll distribute the minutes as much as possible without being overwhelmed. Choi Won-kwon didn’t make any demands on Sejingya. The next game is against Daegu, and I’m thinking up to the 89th minute. I’m just kidding, I’ll give him the right amount of playing time.”
-Won-kwon Choi on how he came out on top in the fan vote.
Sejingya: “I don’t know why they voted me number one. I’ve always received a lot of love and support, but I think it’s because of my performance in the recent All-Star Game and the expectation that I will play well again. I’ll do my best.”
-Simeone on his charisma in the K League. How does Simeone see it?
“It’s not a fight between managers, he has his own philosophy. He’s playing in Korea to prepare for the preseason and we’re playing with an all-star team. We have different objectives, but he’s a world-renowned coach and it’s a great honor for me to play with him.”
-Atletico player you would like to play against?
“I haven’t really thought about it, but I’ve seen Antoine Griezmann play and I’ve seen him play for Barcelona. I think he’s a very good player.”
Sejingya “It’s hard to pick just one. Atletico have a high level of quality in all their players. If I had to pick one, it would be Griezmann. It would be an honor and a new experience to see him up close. He’s a great dribbler, so it would be a great experience.”
-Are there any players you’ve always wanted to coach or work with?
“It’s not that I wanted to coach any players, but I think it’s a great honor for me personally to be the head coach of this team and to have the opportunity to work with such great players. It’s a good experience to be with such good players for a short time.”
Kim Young-kwon “It’s true that they are really good players. I came to the K League last year and have been playing in the K League for a year and a half, and I thought that Sejingya was one of the best players in the K League, not because he was next to me, but because of his intimidation, his performance in Daegu, and the fact that he is one of the best players in the K League. I also felt it when we played head-to-head. I didn’t think that we would be on the same team, so I will take this opportunity to put my feet together and play a good game.”바카라사이트
“All of the players selected this time have a high level. I won’t mention specific players. I will have the pleasure of sharing the dressing room with all of them and playing with them.”
-Atletico is known for its high tactical integrity
“They have clear tactical colors. It’s no exaggeration to say that their defensive tactics are world-class. We have a different team, we don’t have the time to train and we don’t know the individual characteristics of the players. But I’m not afraid. In soccer, the only language is the ball. It’s all about what you do around the ball. I’ve never felt that nationality, whether you’re Korean or foreign, is important in soccer. We will train and meet for a day and try to show the language of Team K-League perfectly.”