S. Korea football coach says everything going well as planned

November 21, 2018

INCHEON, Nov. 21 (Yonhap) — South Korea national football coach Paulo Bento said Wednesday that his side’s plan for the upcoming continental tournament is going well after completing their tuneup matches.

Bento’s team returned home after collecting one win and one draw in their Australia trip this month. South Korea played to a 1-1 draw with Australia and beat Uzbekistan 4-0.

The two friendly matches in Australia were tuneups for the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates that kicks off on Jan. 5. They were also the first two away matches for South Korea since Bento took over the team in August.

Bento said South Korea are moving in the right direction and that they are making progress.

“Everything is going well as we planned,” Bento told reporters at the airport. “But we’ll keep trying to develop our football.”

South Korea national football team head coach Paulo Bento speaks to reporters at Incheon International Airport in Incheon on Nov. 21, 2018. (Yonhap)

South Korea national football team head coach Paulo Bento speaks to reporters at Incheon International Airport in Incheon on Nov. 21, 2018. (Yonhap)

South Korea are on a six-game unbeaten run under Bento. The Taeguk Warriors now have three wins and three draws with the Portuguese boss.

South Korea are in Group C with China, Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines at the 2019 Asian Cup. The Taeguk Warriors have not won the continental title since 1960.

Bento said he will continue to analyze South Korea’s performance to make improvements.

“We have had friendly matches that we could have won,” he said. “We will work harder to deliver our best performance in the best way possible.”

For the November friendlies, Bento tested new faces and players who didn’t get much playing time in their previous matches at home. South Korea’s core players like Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min, Newcastle United anchorman Ki Sung-yueng and Holstein Kiel midfielder Lee Jae-sung were not called up for the friendlies in Australia.

Bento said it was meaningful to test newcomers and get to know other players.

“It really helped me to know our national players,” he said. “We’ve helped them adjust to our style of football, and we’re making progress with good results.”

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