South Korea coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called on supporters and the media to help build a “positive spirit” around the team as they ramp up preparations for next year’s Asian Cup in Qatar amid criticism of the side’s performances since he took charge.
After a run of three draws and two defeats since his appointment in February, the German oversaw his first win on Tuesday, a 1-0 victory against Saudi Arabia in Newcastle.
Klinsmann, who has also been criticised for not spending enough time in Korea, was scheduled to remain in Europe to watch national team members in action for their clubs but returned to Seoul to asses players competing in the domestic league.
“It’s vital that everybody builds a positive spirit. The fans, the media and the team, obviously,” Klinsmann told reporters at Incheon airport on Thursday.
“If it doesn’t go well, there is enough time to criticise or fire the coach or do whatever you want to.
“But in the buildup to a tournament, a national team especially needs the help of the fans and the media to believe in it and to build a positive momentum.”
The Koreans are due to face Tunisia and Vietnam next month in friendlies as part of their preparations for the Asian Cup, a tournament Klinsmann believes they can win.
“I have a lot of experience, especially with tournaments,” said the coach, who won the 1990 World Cup as a player. “Step by step, we’re growing together.
“I know how to time things towards a tournament, and that’s why I think the biggest point is that this team keeps growing and stays healthy.”
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