Tottenham star Son tells South Korean football bosses not to rush coach search

AFP , Friday 7 Jun 2024

Son Heung-min told South Korean football chiefs not to rush their search for a permanent coach as Jurgen Klinsmann lashed out over his sacking in February.

Son Heung-min
Son Heung-min scored two goals for South Korea against Singapore in Thursday s World Cup qualifier. AFP


Tottenham star Son scored twice as South Korea booked their place in the final round of World Cup qualifying on Thursday with a 7-0 thrashing away at Singapore.

The Koreans were playing under their second interim coach since Klinsmann was fired following their semi-final exit at the Asian Cup earlier this year in Qatar.

Kim Do-hoon will again be in caretaker charge against China at home on Tuesday.

"Even if it takes time, I think it's important for us to find a coach that suits us and the kind of football we want to play," the skipper Son told reporters in Singapore after the big win.

Under-23 coach Hwang Sun-hong was put in temporary charge for two World Cup qualifiers in March but his reputation took a heavy hit when South Korea failed to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Son said it "really is not easy" to be without a permanent coach, but added: "The players are making an effort to adapt, allowing us to play well in a relatively positive atmosphere."

Klinsmann was fired after only a year at the helm after the Koreans were beaten 2-0 by underdogs Jordan at the Asian Cup.

Just prior to his sacking, it emerged there had been a bust-up on the eve of the semi-final between Son and Lee Kang-in of Paris Saint-Germain, leaving the skipper with a dislocated finger.

Klinsmann lifted the lid on the incident in an interview with The Athletic and blasted the Korea Football Association for making him the scapegoat.

"In the Korean culture, somebody has to take responsibility, take the blame," the former Germany striker said in the interview with ex-England forward Alan Shearer.

"They made us (coaches) responsible for the fight."

The KFA were last month rebuffed in their search for Klinsmann's successor by their top target Jesse Marsch when the former Leeds United boss chose Canada instead.

The KFA reportedly talked to the American Marsch and Iraq's Spanish coach Jesus Casas, with 71-year-old Senol Gunes from Turkey and former Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard also in the picture.

Klinsmann said the KFA should have known what they were getting when they hired him to replace Portugal's Paulo Bento.

"I tried to adjust to a lot of things, but if you want me to 100 adjust to 100 percent of what you do, then why did you hire a foreigner in the first place?" he said.

"If you wanted it to just be the Korean way, it would be much easier to just take a Korean coach, right?"

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