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Writers Chat: Daejon vs Jeju Preview

Daejon Citizens host Jeju United this weekend in a must win game for both teams as they look to steer their seasons back on track. Paul Neat (Daejon Citizens) and Duncan Elder (Jeju United) discuss.

I Ask, He Answers

Duncan Elder: Daejon made significant changes over the transfer window. Who has particularly stood out from the new players?

Paul Neat: Wanderson, the Brazilian who was predominantly signed as a defender but has scored most of Daejeon's goals since he signed so has been ushered up front. He can, seemingly, play absolutely anywhere but he looks dangerous as a striker.

DE: Daejon's form before the window was obviously pretty bad, but then again it is very hard to take in so many new players mid season. Do you think making so many changes was a good idea?

PN: I think bringing new players in was essential to try and inject a bit of life back into the team as things were clearly not working. But, I do think that bringing 12 or 13 players in isn't ideal. Instead of getting the players on the training pitch and learning how to defend, Daejeon simply added five forwards to their squad in a bid to outscore their opponents. Having said that, the players that have been brought in have looked decent. Perhaps just a tad too late.

DE: Daejeon seem to have been a bit more defensive as of late. How are they likely to set up against Jeju? 

PN: I think they will set up as a 4-5-1 initially and try to hit Jeju on the break. Daejeon don't seem to have the tactical nous to take the game to other teams, they simply try to soak up the pressure and hit them on the break. With the pace they possess upfront it makes sense to do that but Jeju will be a tough test for them.

DE: Daejeon got one of their only points this season from the 2-2 draw with Jeju earlier in the season. Can they go one better this time?

PN: I remember that game. In fact, I remember Adriano missing an absolute sitter at the death to win it. What was he thinking? Realistically, Daejeon have very little chance of getting anything from the game. No matter how valiant they may be, they will always be their own undoing with suicidal defending.

DE: I'm sure you have been asked this plenty of times but.. Do Daejeon still have a chance of staying up?

PN: Absolutely none whatsoever. I try to remain positive and take things game by game but, realistically, Daejeon were down before a ball was even kicked. Time is running out for them, if they are to stand any chance they need to put together a run of results. With just two league wins all season, putting a run of results together seems pretty unlikely. Stranger things have happened though.

He Asks, I Answer

Paul Neat: Jeju are just below the cut off before the season splits. Do you think Jeju deserve a place in the Championship Round?

Duncan Elder: I think Jeju will struggle to make it into the top half. They have won their last two games but the form of the teams above them is also very good and six points is a lot with only five games to go. It's hard to say that we would deserve it if we haven't got the points, but I think better luck with injuries and some slightly more cautious play could have seen us pick up the points we would have needed. Still never say never and I'm sure it will be very close, especially if anyone in the top half starts to slip up. 

PN: Has the season gone as you expected thus far? Underachieving?

DE: I think finishing outside the top six would definitely be considered an underachievement. We have some good players and after a great start to the season hopes were high. At one stage there was even the yearly optimism about a top three finish! If anything this positive start perhaps added to our downfall as we (valiantly?) started to try to out-gun every team we played against. This lead to a run of 16 games where Jeju fixtures were averaging almost five goals a match! Despite tightening up a little in recent weeks our defensive record is still the second worst in the league and it should definitely not be that bad. 

PN: Do you think the fact that the club is based on an island is an attractive proposition for any potential signings or would it act as a hindrance?

DE: The slightly warmer weather than some parts of korea (although still cold) in winter may be an attraction, but I think that overall it is probably a hindrance. Especially for the international players as they are likely to be the only people or at least one of very few from their country on the island. I imagine that this can get pretty lonely. The facilities and living  area are also pretty far from the city which probably doesn't help either. However we seem to have a fairly decent record with signings so someone in the scouting division is making the right moves when searching for players. As well as that we must have something to attract the players, whether that is the island location, a decent standard of football or simply money.

PN: What has been Jeju's biggest problem this season?

DE: Definitely defence, as mentioned above it is the second worst in the league, which when compared to earlier I'm the season when it was the second best is a huge change. We seem to have turned a corner since new signing Baek Dong Gyu has started to settle into the team, which combined with a slightly more cautious style of play, has unsurprisingly gone hand in hand with an upturn in results. 

PN: What would it take to turn Jeju into a team challenging for the Champions League places?

DE: I think if we can keep our best players and replace Kang Soo Il with another striker who can score on a consistent basis then we will certainly have a chance. We played some fairly reckless football in the midpoint of the season which while exciting did end up with us losing more points than we should have. We seem to have found a better balance so if we can continue to play like this plus keep our stars we will have a good chance next season. 

PN: Finally, who has been Jeju's standout performers this season? Who has surprised you most? And, who is the most improved?

DE: Lopes has been the biggest surprise as he  fitted straight into the team and has turned into one of the best attacking players in the league.  Meanwhile Yoon Bit Garam has always been one of our best players but has added goals to his game (some of them real screamers) and he now already has two more than his previous season best. Most improved could be a young defender called Kim Sang Won. He barely played last season but after breaking into the team due to injuries he has quickly improved into into a solid left back.

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