Ulsan coach looks ahead to championships

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Ulsan coach looks ahead to championships

In his first year as a manager, Kim Do-hoon and his team, Ulsan Hyundai FC, will be competing at the Asian Football Confederation Champions League.

In 2016, Ulsan was unable to compete in the Asian Football Confederation Champions League since they finished fourth in the K-League Classic. After the 2016 season, Kim was recruited as a new manager for Ulsan Hyundai FC. Upon completion of the domestic off-season training, Ulsan left to Murcia, Spain, for further practice earlier this month.

After the reigning champion Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors was disqualified from the top Asian Football tournament, the fourth ranked team, Ulsan Hyundai FC, got a chance to compete in the 2017 ACL playoff. Ulsan will be playing against the winner of the Kitsch SC (Hong Kong) and Hanoi TNT game.

If Ulsan wins the playoff game, Ulsan will then advance to the finals and will be in Group E, with teams such as the Kashima Antlers (Japan) and Muangthong United F.C.

Although being a part of the ACL playoff is an honorable accomplishment, Kim could not be completely happy about it. The training schedule has been set according to the K-League opening game, scheduled to be played on March 4, and the roster is not yet complete. Of the four foreign players, Kovacec, 29, is the only one to be finalized.

“I just heard about Jeonbuk’s disqualification,” Kim said. “I didn’t expect to hear about it this early. I wanted to focus on conditioning first and once they develop physical strength, I wanted to start the actual training. Now that we will be competing in the playoff, I need to get the players back into tournament mode.”

Kim had to make changes in the training schedule and in the roster. Although he is overwhelmed, he showed confidence in the team.

“We are playing in the Asian tournament representing Korea,” Kim said. “This chance doesn’t come along very often. We will work hard as a team to produce good results. For the K-league’s pride, and for Ulsan’s pride, we will not be embarrassed at the ACL.”

BY CHOI YONG-JAE [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]
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