Gwangju FC head coach Lee Jung-hyo is the hottest star in the K League in 2023. He has captivated soccer fans with his outspokenness while leading Gwangju’s attractive attacking soccer.
After making his professional debut with Gwangju (K League 2) last year, Lee was full of confidence in the second division. Despite being labeled a “rookie manager,” he secured Gwangju’s early title and confidently said at the K-League Grand Prize ceremony, “I thought we could do it someday,” referring to Leicester City. Leicester won the English Premier League (EPL) in the 2015-16 season, and the Daily Mail described the Foxes as completing a one-in-5000 fairytale.
Few expected Gwangju to write a Leicester City-like fairy tale this year. Gwangju finished the regular season (Round 33) in third place among the 12 teams in the K League 1, and were within striking distance of finishing second. Going into the final round, the team promised to “make a lot of noise (for the rest of the season),” and they kept their word, beating ‘leaders’ Ulsan Hyundai in the first game.
“Leicester said they had a 0.001 percent chance (of winning the title), but if we invest more (next year), we’ll challenge them as well,” Lee said. “If we keep the players we have now and the squad is stronger, we should really challenge. We can’t do it moderately.”
His voice was full of confidence as always. Gwangju, which made history by securing the title in the shortest period of time in the K League 2, has also made distinct achievements in the K League 1, including a victory over its former club. The team’s smaller roster makes it even more impressive.
“I really wanted to do it in K-League 2, but I also wanted to do it in K-League 1. I hate losing to certain teams like a food chain, like a jinx. I thought, “Why should we jinx ourselves when we have the ability? Now that we’ve beaten our former club, we’ve proven that this team (Gwangju) is hard to beat, so in that sense, the victory over our former club is meaningful.” Lee cited Ulsan, Pohang Steelers, and Jeonbuk Hyundai as teams that were difficult to beat.
Lee’s interviews and reactions have always been a topic of conversation, most notably after his team’s loss to FC Seoul in March, where he made the league’s most inflammatory comments about “losing to a team that plays like that”. He apologized shortly afterward, but his comments stuck around for a while.
Fans were intrigued by the fact that the players were shown on several occasions losing their temper on the field, not satisfied with the goals they scored. This has earned the coach the nickname “K-Morinho” (Jose Mourinho), and Gwangju fans have been jockeying for position behind the bench to get a closer look at his reactions.
“I think the fact that the seats are going so quickly means that there is more interest in Gwangju FC. I look at it positively. I’m not consciously reacting, but I’m a little crazy about soccer at that time. I was watching and thinking, “I shouldn’t do that,” but it didn’t work.” “I think HyoBudge (Lee Jung-hyo + father) is better than (K-Morinho) because I have a kinder side. I use filial piety in my name. I think (the nickname) suits me better,” he laughed.
“I’m an INTJ,” he said, “a realist. They say I’m a realist. I quickly forget the past. When we score a goal, I only think about how to score more goals. I spend time on what I’m good at.”
The INTJ trait of being a “risk-taking strategist” describes Lee Jung-hyo. He is confident and straightforward in everything he does. He dreams of ideals that others may find absurd, but he believes in the possibilities and challenges. However, he is sober about reality. This personality type is usually sophisticated.
Lee Jeong-hyo, who has achieved greatness in the world of soccer, also planned his words to a certain extent. “When (the 2023 season) first started, I thought a lot about how to make Gwangju players appealing to the media and fans. I thought, ‘Let’s make an issue out of it, even if I get criticized. I unintentionally crossed the line against Seoul, but later I thought it was a noise effect.”
He pointed out that in order to create a miracle like Leicester’s, investment must follow. “I want you to invest,” Lee said to the club. If we don’t do well, I will be responsible. You have to invest first. I want to change the attitude of investing only when the results are good. It’s good to be a selling club (a team that develops prospects and then sells them to other teams for transfer fees), but it should be a basic investment,” he emphasized. Lee is eager to invest, listing the names of companies associated with the club’s iconic yellow color.
Lee Jung-hyo, who proved his competitiveness in his second year as a professional team manager, is considered to be a manager who will go to a big club. Some fans have suggested that he should also coach the national team, but Lee says, “I like coaching a club team best. I want to see the players grow day by day, and I want to make them feel like they’re in the trenches tactically, and I want to be with them every day,” he said.카지노사이트
“We don’t own the ball, we own the space,” is the definition of Gwangju’s soccer, and Lee has led the team to the Final A (top six teams in K League 1), achieving his pre-season goal of 15 wins in 33 rounds. The team is currently in a fierce battle with Pohang for an elite spot in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) for the 2024-25 season, which is the final two spots in the K League 1. Despite transforming Gwangju from a suspect in the second division last year to one of the hottest teams in the league, Lee is still hungry.
“I made a bit of noise and shouted my name to the football world,” Lee said, “and (to summarize this season), I said, ‘I’ve done this much, so please pay attention,’ or ‘please intuit,’ or something like that.”