It’s what everyone at Incheon United wants to see.
토토사이트 Incheon United defender Kim Dong-min gave a phone interview to ‘Interfootball’ on the 23rd, a day after the team’s 3-1 win in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Champions League (ACL) playoffs against Hai Phong ([Interview] ‘Battery Red Light → ACL Qualification’ Incheon’s Kim Dong-min, “I really wanted to win against Japan”).
As the last question before the end of the interview, I asked him if there was anything else he wanted to say. He took a deep breath and said, “Now that we’re in the top split and we’re going to the ACL, I want to see the coach smile. He doesn’t look good when we’re winning, when we’re ranked, or when we go to the ACL. I think he might be under pressure, or he might be stressed for various reasons. I want to see him smile this year,” he said.
When asked, “What should Kim Dong-min do to see coach Cho Sung-hwan smile,” he replied, “He should hit him in the head,” and burst into laughter.
Incheon set sail this year with high expectations. After finishing fourth in the K League 1 last season and qualifying for the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Asian Champions League (ACL) playoffs, the team’s pink future looked promising with stormy reinforcements to match.
However, it was not an easy road. Incheon was in 10th place with three wins, four draws, and six losses (13 points) through the 13th round of the K League One. At a press conference after the 13th round match against Jeonbuk Hyundai, head coach Cho Sung-hwan said, “I want to tell the fans something. We said that we prepared well and hard until this game, but I think you must be disappointed because the results and contents are not one after another. I admit that there were mistakes and lapses by the coach in terms of the position we are in, the details of the game, the timing of substitutions, tactics and strategy. I apologize for not producing results today, but I want to tell you that we will go back to the drawing board and work hard to produce results beyond today.” He even volunteered to hold a fan meeting before round 14.
It was the best thing he could have done under the circumstances, and we got to see the “real” Cho Sung-hwan.
With Cho Sung-hwan at the helm, Incheon began to rise again. From round 14 to round 27, the team won six games, drew six, and lost two. They climbed from the relegation zone to sixth place (37 points), the final Final A spot. They are only four points behind third-place Jeonbuk Hyundai (41 points) and two points behind fourth-place FC Seoul (39 points). In addition, the team has reached the FA Cup quarterfinals and the ACL knockout stage. The league, FA Cup, and ACL are all ongoing.
During this rebound, it’s been hard to keep a straight face. Except for the occasional joke or two at press conferences, he was mostly grim. “We didn’t have a lot of points in the beginning,” he said, “even when we won three straight home games against Daegu FC. I don’t think we can put much significance on the three home wins and the four wins and one draw in July. We’re taking it game by game, point by point,” he said calmly.
Incheon are certainly enjoying their best run since Cho Sung-hwan took over. However, the pressure to do better is taking away from the momentary happiness. It’s inevitable that the heavy burden of leadership will do that, but it’s also sad to see as a human being.
Maybe it’s because he wants to stay with Incheon for a longer period of time. During the winter training, he smiled broadly at the Incheon staff, saying, “Let’s re-sign him as soon as possible.” It was one of the most beautiful smiles I’ve seen this year. It was one of the most beautiful smiles I’ve seen this year.