Why did director Cho Sung-hwan mention the traditional fairy tale “Rabbit and Turtle” in his appearance


Traditional fairy tales, “Rabbits and Turtles,” remind us of how dangerous rabbits’ conceit is and how important their constant efforts are.

Incheon manager Cho Sung-hwan, who met with reporters ahead of Incheon United’s 2024 season opening ceremony at Incheon Global Campus in Songdo, Incheon on the 25th, said, “I don’t read many books, but…” brought up the rabbit and turtle story.

Incheon, which once had an unwelcome title of “King of Survival” and competed every year, faced a turning point in August 2020 when coach Cho Sung-hwan took the helm. Coach Cho, who saved Incheon, which was highly likely to be demoted in 2020, led Incheon to eighth place in 2021, giving fans a “comfortable” season that fell out of the relegation battle. And in 2022, he advanced Incheon to fourth place at the same time as entering the Final A, making it to the Asian Champions League (ACL) for the first time in Incheon’s history. Last year, despite the tight schedule of joining the ACL, the Korea Cup (Former FA Cup), and the league, unfortunately ranked fifth after leading Incheon to the ACL competition until the end, but only four teams including Ulsan HD FC, Jeonbuk Hyundai and Pohang Steelers made it to the Final A along with Incheon for the 2022-2023 consecutive years.

Coach Cho, who has placed Incheon at the top of the list, is wary of rabbits because he needs to shake off his conceit that “this is enough.” “We need to take a step forward to reach the finish line in good and bad times,” Cho said. “We are getting better from 2020. Still, we need to not settle down and keep running forward. Whether it is good or not, many fans supported and supported our members. I feel a sense of responsibility to do well while watching such fans.”

In fact, given the current situation in Incheon, it cannot be a rabbit to hit from the beginning. At the end of last season, Incheon had a hard time competing for the standings as its main players, including Mugosa, collapsed one after another due to injuries. There are quite a few players among those injured who cannot start this season. Main striker Kim Bo-seop and defensive core Delbridge are still recovering from their injuries, while main midfielder Shin Jin-ho is also not allowed to play for a month in March due to injuries. Coach Cho recruited defender Yonichi despite the fact that foreign striker Hernandez moved to Jeonbuk and the strikers’ weight has declined due to Kim Bo-seop because Delbridge’s injury has been prolonged.

This is why he wants to emulate a turtle that is slowly but slowly making its way to the goal. In fact, even if Incheon is full-fledged, it may not be easy for the team to play from the beginning like strong teams such as Jeonbuk and Ulsan. “As usual, a season is a marathon. Just as the four seasons change countless times, crises and opportunities alternate,” Cho said. “We just need to do our best in a given environment. Last year, we presented good memories to our fans. This season is the same,” he stressed.

As an extension of his performance, Cho said he would not mind if more players were selected for the Olympic team or the A team. Rather, he said, the more the players are selected, the better. “I hope more Incheon players will be excluded from the national team. Individual development is the development of the team,” Cho said. “When they are recruited, there will be a gap, but we can fill it with another bona fide competition.”

This is also Cho’s confidence. When it was difficult to set up a squad due to injuries to key players at the end of last season, Cho made a breakthrough by using a large number of young players. Park Seung-ho and Choi Woo-jin are good examples. “I think Choi Woo-jin is having a hard time playing soccer these days. It could be a jinx for a second year,” Cho said, but added, “He has good attack options. Once he improves his ability to select locations and gains experience, he seems to have skills that can serve as a good resource for the A national team beyond the future of Incheon.” “I hope that Incheon will have all of the best players, including the Young Player Award, the top scorer, and the top 11.” 핑크알바

As much as the expectations of the players, coach Cho’s determination to strengthen himself is extraordinary. In particular, the teaching of the failure of the Asian Champions League (ACL) last season was as great as it hurt. Incheon won as many as four games (two losses) in Group G and scored 12 points. It seemed natural to advance to the round of 16, but they were eliminated from the round of 16 because of the two strong teams of Shandong Taishan (China) and Yokohama Marinos (Japan) led by coach Choi Kang-hee. The three teams were bitten by four wins and two losses, but Incheon fell to third place after weighing the record and goal difference between the teams. Some say that Group G was a group of death as both Shandong and Yokohama advanced to the quarterfinals of the ACL, but coach Cho thinks that’s an excuse. He said, “I reflect on the lack of game management and squad management as a coach. I will not repeat the mistake if I face the following situation next time.” Referring to manager Jurgen Klopp, who recently announced that he would step down as Liverpool coach after this season, he added, “I’m not in the same position as Klopp, but I fully understand how you feel.”

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