It is the standard of a well-to-do family. Like Ulsan Hyundai, the competitiveness of the ‘Star Corps’ is based on goodwill competition, and how tightly they unite from off the ground is the key.
Ulsan, led by coach Hong Myung-bo, played a role as a bridge between coaches and players, including Lee Chung-yong, who played as captain last year, and Park Joo-young, a veteran striker, and contributed to becoming a ‘one team’ and winning the league championship after 17 years. Ulsan, who saw the ‘winner’, has more confidence in its internal competitiveness this season, and not only the senior level, but also young players and foreigners, ‘think of the team first’, and are showing off the best performance in the right condition when given a chance to participate in the game.
This trend is also showing up well in the last 5 consecutive wins. Ulsan started with Incheon United on the 25th of last month in the 9th round (1-0 win), and accumulated 5 consecutive wins until the 13th round home match against FC Seoul on the 14th (3-2 win). During this period, both weekday and weekend games were played, but coach Hong operated a rotation for each game.
As in the script, the player who appeared as a starter played a key role in the victory. In the game against Incheon, tall striker Martin Adam, who had few opportunities to start, scored the winning goal while defending the front line. In the next match against Gwangju FC in the 10th round (2-1 win), Joo Min-gyu, who started in place of Adam, scored the winning goal in extra time in the second half.
In the 11th round (3-0 win) against Daegu FC, the U-22 card rotation hit. Hwang Jae-hwan, who replaced Kang Yun-goo, led the team to a great victory with multiple goals. Joo Min-gyu, who played as a substitute against Daegu, returned to Gangwon FC as a starter in the 12th round (1-0 win) and scored the winning goal from a penalty kick. In the match against Seoul, Adam again took the starting lineup and delighted coach Hong with a left-footed first goal in the first half.
Resources that have recently scored well, such as Bako, who scored multiple goals against Seoul, are important, but it is noteworthy that players steadily adjust their condition through rotation and produce results on the ground.
‘That day is the best 11’ regardless of the main or non-main matches. Ulsan, which has a league solo system, is likely to be greedy for the FA Cup as well as the Asian Champions League (ACL) in the second half of the year. While enjoying the rotation effect greatly, director Hong’s range of ideas can be broadened.
An official from Ulsan said, “Compared to before, it seems that a culture of helping each other sincerely and encouraging whoever goes out as a starter has been established. In the case of Boyanic, who joined this year, he played relatively little time, but after the game, he went down to the locker room with playing coach Park Joo-young to take care of his teammates. 안전놀이터 I think it’s good that even foreigners are participating in this culture,” he said.
Immediately after the match against Seoul, coach Hong said, “I have a sense of crisis and competition that I can sit on the bench at any time if I don’t do my best in the time given to me. But there isn’t too much competition or jealousy (between the players). It’s nice to see everyone being dedicated and harmonious.”
The day after the match against Seoul, Ulsan held an evaluation match against Hannam University to check the condition of a player who had not participated in many recent matches. Esaka Ataru and Kim Seong-jun tasted goals and appealed to Hong. Ulsan coaches deserve to have happy thoughts every day.