Jeju United manager Ki-il Nam celebrated his 10th year as a professional coach this year by renewing his contract at the end of last season. There were a lot of doubts in the process of renewing his contract. The team’s progress last year was uneven, and they failed to reach their goal of qualifying for the AFC Champions League. Conflicts with some players were also a hot topic. Yoon Bit-garam, who moved to Suwon FC, openly mentioned the disagreement with coach Nam Ki-il at a press conference before the season.

Coach Nam Ki-il, preparing for the 2023 season, used change as a keyword. It wasn’t just about personnel renewal, such as the extensive replacement of the coaching staff. He declared that he would completely change his thoughts and judgments about team management. He promised to transform into a horizontal leader who listens to the opinions of the players, not a vertical leader who pulls hard. He said he would even share player recruitment information with a large team of captains composed of six veterans, if necessary. It was a pledge that if he could come to a good conclusion for the team, he would lay down the manager’s authority or authority. 

However, there were still severe suspicions from the outside. Emphasizing that ‘people do not change, and the director’s nature and inertia do not change easily’, many people questioned whether director Nam Ki-il would eventually return to his old self in a crisis situation. And the crisis came much earlier than expected. 

Jeju was winless in the first five games after the opening. After 2 draws, 3 consecutive losses to Incheon, Seoul and Ulsan. After three consecutive losses, the ranking was at the bottom of the K-League 1. The point that the change promised by director Nam Ki-il was meaningless and the expectation that it would return to its previous form were all valid. At that time, director Nam Ki-il’s reaction was the opposite. He said, “It’s my fault, not the players, so I’m trying to lower myself. I want to lighten the players’ burden and boost their confidence.”  메이저사이트

What awaited Jeju after 5 games without a win was 3 consecutive matches of hell. I had to deal with Gangwon, Changwon City Hall (FA Cup), and Suwon within six days. Moving from Chuncheon to Changwon and back again to Suwon was overwhelming. In addition, starting with captain Choi Young-joon at the beginning of the season, Lim Chae-min, Jonathan Ling, Jin Seong-wook, Yeon Je-woon, Lee Ji-sol, Jeon Seong-jin, and Ki-hyeok Lee left the line due to injuries, and the number of players that could be used became less than 20. Ahn Hyun-beom, Lee Chang-min, and Jeong Woon were also unable to join the team from the Gangwon expedition due to injuries, and they joined in turn from the game after that.

In a hopeless situation, Jeju started to rebound. Seo Jin-soo’s goal in Gangwon-do marked his first win of the season, and in the FA Cup 3rd round against Changwon-si Cheongwa, he won 2-1 with Koo Ja-cheol’s theater goal. In the following Suwon expedition, they won 3-2 come-from-behind victory after a slugfest. Two foreigners, Yuri Jonatan and Hays, who had been criticized for not meeting expectations, led the team to three consecutive victories by posting two attack points each. 

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