K-League 1 Suwon Samsung captain Lee Gi-je revealed that he wants to focus more on the rebound of his club rather than being selected for the national team.
Lee Ki-je met in the mixed zone (joint coverage area) after the 14th round match against Ulsan Hyundai held at home on the 21st and was asked if he expected to be selected for an A-match in June. “I’m thinking about (the national team), but I hope our team will do well first.”
Lee Ki-je was named to his first A-match list after taking over as national coach Jürgen Klinsmann in March. As he was unable to play an active role as a key member under the former coach Paulo Bento system, he must have a strong desire to be noticed by the new coach. However, he had a greater desire to escape from the lower ranks by continuing to improve Suwon’s performance since the appointment of coach Kim Byung-soo.
Suwon lost 2-3 to league leader Ulsan in the match, but showed hope of escaping from the lower ranks by playing an equal game until the end of the game. At the center of it all was the left foot of Lee Ki-je, the league’s top player in assists last season (14 assists).
Suwon struggled under strong pressure from Ulsan, but Lee Ki-je’s sharp kicks in a set-piece situation allowed him to score twice, harassing Ulsan until the end. In particular, the direct free kick goal scored from the right side of the penalty box with a left-footed kick was a wonder goal comparable to Ulsan Kim Young-kwon’s mid-range shot. In an interview after the game, the enemy manager Hong Myung-bo also pointed out that the point was the most regrettable in a set-piece situation. 스포츠토토
In order to maximize Lee Ki-je’s kicking power, coach Kim Byung-soo brought out a new lineup that eases the burden of defense. Lee Ki-je played as a midfielder on the left side of the 3-5-2 lineup. Lee Ki-je mainly played as a left fullback under former coach Lee Byung-geun, but the defensive burden is inevitably greater than that of a midfielder who is more advanced.
Lee Ki-je said that the fighting of the players got better after the manager change. He said, “Originally, when I was losing, I tended to collapse. He saw hope in the way he was trying to follow today,” he said.
When he said that he believes that escaping from the bottom is possible, he said, “I believe that even players can rise to the middle ranks with just 3 or 4 wins. The team atmosphere isn’t bad either. As long as the will to do so is strong, I think I can rise enough.”