Two of the three made an appearance in Ulsan’s win over FC Tokyo that took them to the knockout stages…
This comes a few days after he complimented Qatar for putting together excellent quarantine facilities for the three players who had travelled to the 2022 FIFA World Cup host nation after completing their national team duties.
Do-hoon was interacting with the media after the K.League runners-up prevailed 2-0 in Group F match against FC Tokyo and qualified for the knockout stages of the AFC Champions League with one group game remaining.
He highlighted the trio for displaying the right mental attributes during their period of isolation. Defensive midfielder Won Du-jae, full-back Kim Tae-hwan and central defender Jung Seung-hyun had flown into Doha following South Korea’s 2-1 win against 2019 AFC Asian Cup champions Qatar in a 17 November friendly.
They were duly subjected to the comprehensive and watertight COVID safety protocols laid out and implemented by Qatar as the centralized hosting venue of the competition.
Won Du-jae and Kim Tae-hwan featured against Tokyo, coming on in the second half.
“The three players had to obey the regulations and stay in the hotel which they did. It could have been stressful, but they did their best to enjoy the situation and create the right atmosphere for the team. I thank them for displaying the right spirit,” said Kim.
Won, 23, is considered one of the brightest young stars in South Korean football after being named Most Valuable Player as South Korea won the AFC Under-23 Championships in January this year. He celebrated his second-half introduction by setting up Ulsan Hyundai’s match-winner scored by playmaker Yoon Bit-garam. Kim too looked solid as their J.League opponents pressed for the equalizer in vain.
The coach also implied that the positive energy of the trio has had a spin-off effect on the team which, according to him, has the requisite mental strength to pose a challenge in the knockout stages.
“In the days to come, this team would emerge even stronger. I cannot predict the outcome but I know that my team will fight to win every single game of the competition,” said the former South Korea striker who has the distinction of scoring the winner in an international friendly against Brazil in 1999.
The Ulsan Hyundai boss had given a thumbs up for Qatar’s COVID protocol implementation ahead of his team’s first group game – against Shanghai Shenhua on 21 November – in the ongoing tournament held in Qatar under the centralized hosting format.
“The quarantine facility here is very good and monitoring of the safety procedures fantastic,” the 50-year-old had said.