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K League 2 Media Day 2023: Gyeongnam FC Manager Seol Ki-hyun

With K League 2 returning this Wednesday, K League United spoke with a number of players and managers at the 2023 K League 2 Media Day on Tuesday, February 21st. One team hoping to end their stay in the second tier is Gyeongnam FC, a side who have come agonisingly close to promotion the last few years. Matthew Binns sat down briefly with manager Seol Ki-hyun to get his thoughts on the Reds' season ahead.

Matthew Binns: You have quite a young squad going into this season. With Gyeongnam aiming for promotion, how do you think these players can handle the pressure?

Seol Ki-hyun: I think there needs to be some spirit from the young players. 

So, they need to be challenged and fearless. They're young. After being challenged and they will get frustrated. There's no guarantee that they'll do well due to a lack of experience. But because they're young, if they go through those difficulties and failures and overcome them, I think they'll grow a lot at the end of the season. 

So I don't want them to have any fear of failure. Also, looking at the future of the club, there is a reason why they have to play a lot of games and grow. Two to three years down the line, when Gyeongnam FC gets to a really important position, it will help produce good results. Even if it doesn't really help the club right now, I think we need to give them a chance and grow even if they keep getting frustrated and fail.

MB: Four of your five top scorers from last season have left the club. Do you think the new signings can replace those goals?

Last year, we scored a lot of goals. For example, Tiago and Willyan, these foreign players played very well and we lost a lot of goals and assists [when they left], but if those players do well, we have to make money through transfers and recruit new players.

So, we recruited players who are suitable for that. Last year, we might have relied on their individual skill, but this season we wanted to create a team where we can create chances and score goals through team play.

MB: Last season, Gyeongnam conceded 61 goals, the third highest in the division. Have you done enough to address this issue?

As you said, we have conceded many goals, so how can we reduce this? We have ranked fourth, fifth and sixth. So we did a lot of defensive training and I think we have fully supplemented the physical parts that we lacked through recruitment. Of course, you have to open the lid and start the season, but anyway, we thought about it and prepared for it, so I hope there will be a lot of changes.

MB: Gyeongnam have come close to promotion in the last two seasons. What will make this season different to make sure fans will be celebrating?

SH: I've been coaching Gyeongnam FC for four years, and I think there needs to be some kind of differentiation from other teams. We think that with more organized team play, and if the players familiarize themselves with the tactics, we should show a clear improvement. So I focused a lot on the completeness of the tactics. Then if every player plays consistently for 90 minutes, from the first game to the last, I think we'll be promoted.


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