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Footballist interviews Lee Jeong-hyeob

Following their interview with coach Choi Young-joon, Footballist spoke with returning forward Lee Jeong-hyeob. Reporter Kwon Tae-jeong asked Lee about how things have changed at Busan since he left for his military service, his injury, and his thoughts on the club's current situation. Below I have translated the interview. You can read the original Korean version here.

Busan forward Lee Jeong-hyeob. Screenshot courtesy of Footballist.

How does it feel after being discharged from the military and being back at Busan?

The day before I got out it I thought time had stopped. But in reality the time went really quickly. Park Joon-gang was like, "Why did you come so quickly? I think you never left." I told him to go and try it (the army) one time. He hasn't done his service yet.


Have things changed a lot from when you were at Busan before enlisting and now?

When I was at Busan before I was a rookie. I think then I was always busy checking the older players' mood and rushing to get things done. After being discharged, now there are many players here who are younger than me. Now I'm a hyung (older) and senior player, and I can share my experience with my juniors. I think I can do that role well. (The biggest change while doing your military service). Being chosen for the national team of course. You may or may not get a chance at it, so I'm honored to have been selected.

What is the status of your injury? (Lee Jeong-hyeob suffered a compound facial fracture last August).

The bone has completely healed. When my body condition has improved, I can play in games. (But didn't you play a game at the World Military Games?) Yes, but my condition wasn't that good. The coach (Sangju's Park Hang-seo) pulled me aside and asked if I could play, even if just for a little. It felt good to feel the atmosphere of a match again. Now the most important thing is to improve my condition quickly. I think I can be ready to play against Daejeon (on the 24th).


You came back to a team in danger of being relegated? You didn't have any worries?

Honestly, I had many worries. I thought the environment would be really bad. When I went, I thought I'd have to be quiet. But it was better than I thought. I think the new boss (Choi Young-joon) is actively trying to boost the mood himself. I think the players are taking it well. He's calm, but also has charisma. It's good that the players are in a better environment than I thought they'd be in.


When you were with Sangju did you watch many Busan games? How did it feel?

I watched many. On the whole the games were okay, but in the second half and final minutes I saw many mistakes and problems with concentration. However, if we can solve just that issue, it should be enough to win games, and I think we can stay in the [K League] Classic.


You come to a team in a difficult situation, but your strength seems different.

Even when I was with Sangju, Busan fans sent me a lot of support. I think I could do well with Sangju because of that support. Now that I've returned to Busan I will work harder and try to show good performances to repay them.


The relegation playoff is a real possibility. What are the chances?

Just because I came, one shouldn't think that we will definitely stay up. I want to return quickly and do my part to help the team. We can survive if all the players come together as one team. (I think you can help the team prepare for the playoff due to you experience playing in the Challenge?) I know the Challenge teams well since I played against them. I think there are no easy teams. We need to prepare our game rather than worry about who our opponent is. I believe that if we play our game we can beat anyone. 

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