Yoon Jung-hwan, the coach who kept Gangwon FC in the first division, laughed hoarsely as he said this. At one point, he was booed by a supporter, “Narsha,” but he stood tall and received “cheers.레모나토토 도메인
Yoon’s Gangwon won 2-1 at home against Gimpo FC in the second leg of the ‘Hana One Q K League 2023’ promotion playoffs (PO) at Gangneung Sports Complex on Sept. 9, thanks to a multi-goal performance from Brazilian striker Gabriel. After a scoreless draw in the away first leg three days earlier, Gangwon won the first and second legs by a combined score of 2-1 and will remain in the first division next season.
It was the reverse of the ‘Yoon Jung-hwanho’ drama. After a long coaching career in Japan, where his achievements included helping Cerezo Osaka win its first ever double, he turned to the microphone as a K League commentator in the first half of this year. He was then brought in as a “fireman” when Gangwon parted ways with Choi Yong-soo last summer after the club was facing relegation.
Yoon tried to change his predecessor’s defense-oriented three-back to an offense-oriented one, as well as playing as a forward, but early in his tenure, signature striker Yang Hyun-joon (Celtic) pushed for a move to Scotland, which shook up the squad. It was an unexpected blow to his plans to instill confidence in a defeat-minded squad and build a “one-man team.” Eventually, Yang left for Europe. The Brazilian trio of Gabriel, Yago, and Wellington were transfused, but they struggled to adapt to the K League.
This is the first time in his coaching career that Yoon has led a team in the middle of the season. He’s also never had to rescue a relegation-threatened team. In August and September, the team seemed to be turning things around with victories over powerhouses such as Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Hyundai, but they couldn’t get results against mid- and lower-tier teams. Even after scoring the first goal, the team often lost concentration in the last minute and lost three points.
I was nervous, but I tried to inject my colors by communicating with the team, led by captain Hankyoung. The veteran strikers such as Kim Dae-won and Lee Jung-hyeop also improved their form and led the attack. In the end, the team finished in 10th place with two wins, two draws, and eight points from four matches in the final 35-38 rounds of the regular season, which were the most crucial. It is out of the last place (12th), which is the direct second division relegation, and the 11th place, which plays the relegation PO against the second place (Busan) in the K League 2.
It is true that it is easier to play the Promotion PO against a team that passed the K League 2 Promotion PO, and it was a tough battle with Gimpo, who also passed the Promotion PO, but they completed their stay in the first division as expected, as Gabriel exploded his potential with a multi-goal performance in the second leg. In particular, Yoon transformed midfielder Hwang Moon-ki into a fullback at the end of the season, and he responded to expectations with a cross that assisted Gabriel’s winning goal in the second leg of the Promotion PO.
Kangwon scored six goals and conceded just two in six games, including the final four league games and two in the Promotion PO, to showcase their ‘staying power’. Gangwon had scored 11 goals and conceded 23 in the first 18 games of the season, but under Yoon, the team found its footing in the second half of the season, scoring 19 goals and conceding 18 in 20 games. In addition to the goalless ratio, the offense has averaged 11.30 shots per game, up from 8.7 in the first 18 games.
“I want to play an aggressive game from the front, and I want to play more active and dynamic soccer next year,” Yoon said, showing a strong commitment to playing in the “upper echelon” next season.