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Writer's Chat: Daejeon Citizen Vs Seoul E-Land

Two clubs that could benefit from the KFA's decision not to award Ansan Mugungwha a place in the Classic next term go head-to-head this Wednesday when Daejeon Citizen entertain Seoul E-Land.

With a mere five games left to play, can Citizen or E-Land sneak into the playoffs? Daejeon correspondent Paul Neat sat down with his E-Land opposite number Stephen Waddell to discuss exactly that and to look ahead to Wednesday's game.

Paul asks Stephen
The first thing, or person rather, I'd like to talk to you about is Martin Rennie; being a fellow Scot there must a been a strange sense of pride seeing Rennie in the hotseat at E-Land. Given E-Land's form since his sacking, was it perhaps too much of a rash decision to do so? Was promotion within two years unrealistic?
Rennie was one of the main reasons that I attached myself to E-Land in the first place and it certainly added a bit of interest having a fellow Scot in one of the K-League managers chairs. It certainly adds a bit of spice to things watching how a foreign coach adapts to the K-League, especially when it's one of our own. It's good to see Dan Harris is still sticking around for now in that respect. 
Whether it was right to sack him, I guess is open to debate. It certainly seemed that things were fizzling out a bit for this season and given E-Land's hopes for promotion I guess they felt they had to do something. I'm not convinced by the replacement so far and it'll be interesting to see what happens in the close season if we finish mid-table. 
I think promotion had to be the aim even in the first season purely down to relative budgets and what E-Land wanted to achieve. Three or four years in the Challenge was never part of the plan. 
How have E-Land set themselves up tactically since Rennie left?
I think one of the things that has surprised me is that there have been so many changes of personnel since Rennie left. Whether it was E-Land's idea to cut some of the higher earners or whether players wanted to jump ship or whether the new boss just wanted to bring in his own men is unclear but with so many new faces it's hard to really pin down what our best team is now.   
He also seemed to make some odd decisions in selection like dropping Tarabai despite him being our best player and top scorer for the season so far. Letting our most experienced midfielder Kim Jae-Sung leave seemed like an odd decision. while ditching Jonatas Belusso just 6 months after signing him seemed rash. 
The guys who have come in haven't really set the heather on fire. Seo Jung-jin is a player I never really rated at Suwon and Chico looks every bit the typical K-League signing from Brazil. With so many changes it's not unexpected that the team seems disjointed and inconsistent. The only bright spot seems to be that Joo Min-kyu is right back in form with 8 goals in 9 games
The Ansan situation has given clubs like Busan, Daejeon, Seoul E-Land and perhaps Anyang too a second chance to make the playoffs, it would be unlikely but is it still possible for E-Land? Or is this season a write-off?
I think it's definitely still possible. We're only 6 points off fifth place with a game in hand and the teams around us are just as inconsistent as we are at the minute. We would need to do what we haven't done all season though and put together a consistent run of wins. This was always going to be a tough season with so many decent sides in the league but it's also a bit frustrating to see teams like Bucheon and Gangwon so far ahead of us
Given Daejeon's rather solid home form, and E-Land's, shall we say 'patchy' away form this term (5 away wins in 2016), what are you expecting from the game result and performance wise?
With E-Land expect the unexpected. When they should win they generally drop the ball and when you think they are out of it they surprise you. We lost on our last trip to Daejeon against 10 men so that doesn't bode well. The good news is we are scoring goals, you have to go back to July for a game where we didn't find the net. That always gives you a chance to win. Especially in this league.
Any team news to speak of? Players ruled out with injury or suspension, or indeed any that we can expect back into the fold?
I'm not sure if Park Kun-ha has had his tombola out yet. I think Shin Il-soo's yellow against Gangwon might put him out of this game but I would expect to see a number of changes anyway given the defeat and the fact the next game comes round so soon. 
Stephen asks Paul
When Daejeon came down last season the hope must have been that you could bounce straight back up. It hasn't quite worked out that way. What do you make of the season so far?
That's certainly what we hoped but the fans didn't, and still don't, have much faith in the manager Choi Moon-Sik. A better manager could have perhaps saved Daejeon last season, he had enough time to do so. Instead of playing in a certain way that would get results, he insisted on trying to play attractive passing football which didn't do us any favours. Credit where credit is due, Daejeon do play some good football. During the 5-0 thrashing over Ansan, Daejeon played some scintilating stuff. But, sometimes, particularly away from home, you need to roll your sleeves up and dig out results. Daejeon don't know how to do that.
We managed to keep hold of Alvaro Silva and Wanderson; albeit only until the summer, so some fans, myself included, were somewhat optimistic that we'd see Citizen there or there abouts. But, merely being on the fringes of the playoff places is, frankly, not good enough - especially considering we have the goal machine that is Kim Dong-Chan.
The Ansan decision has opened up another play-off place and livened up what could have been a disappointing season. What did you make of that decision and do you think Daejeon can sneak over the line now?
I don't really agree with the decision that the K League made, it isn't fair that the team who have been the best in the league thus far won't be rewarded for their efforts. Granted, the team are moving but it will essentially be the same club, it will still be the police team.
Although it has given us a lifeline but if we were to make it into the playoffs, it would be perhaps be a bit of a hollow victory, seeing as though we wouldn't have got there on merit. I suppose it would be somewhat similar to the situation in the Classic at the moment. If FC Seoul won the league because of Jeonbuk's 9 point penalty, would it really be that sweet of a victory?
Frankly, I am a tad displeased with the reaction the Daejeon players have shown since this has all come to the fore; they get given a lifeline then fail to capitalise on it. Before the weekend Daejeon weren't that far away but two defeats in a row has meant there's somewhat of a mountain to climb. Of course, those two defeats were on the road so perhaps I shouldn't have expected anything less. 
Kim Dong-Chan is the league's top scorer with 18 goals. Did you expect such a return from him when he signed and should he be playing at a higher level?
I'll be completely honest and say that I didn't expect such a good return from him. During the winter transfer window most of the buzz was about Seo Dong-Hyun, who we had on loan from Jeju United. He started the season in the first eleven but looked disinterested and after picking up a hand injury lost his place to Kim Dong-Chan, never got much of a look in again, certainly not in the league. He has since left and then joined Suwon FC on loan.
Suwon Bluewings actually wanted to sign Kim Dong-Chan but with Samsung cutting the bloodline to them they couldn't get the deal over the line. Somehow we sneaked in and signed him instead. 
He most certainly could play at a higher level, the man is pure class. His movement and intelligence off the ball has been key to create space for the likes of Gustavo and midfield players like Kim Sun-Min and Hwang In-Beom coming from deep. He is an experienced player and has shown with his goals how important he is for Daejeon. I just pray that we can keep hold of him.
Who else has been a stand-out for Daejeon this season? Is Hwang In-beom going to be the next big thing? 
Hwang In-Beom is the real deal. He is still very young so can be a bit inconsistent but if he can learn how to control the pace of games more, something that Kim Byung-Suk could perhaps teach him to do, then he could go a long way in the game. He is another player that I worry about losing, I just hope that when we do that we get a good fee for him and we invest that money in the playing squad.
With E-Land struggling to find consistency you must fancy your chances for this one? What do you reckon we can look forward to?
Daejeon's home form is good so I'd probably would lean towards a home win. Daejeon like to get on the front foot at Purple Arena, and when doing so Kim Sun-Min and Hwang In-Beom are usually at the heart of it. If I were a betting man I'd put money on Kim Dong-Chan to score -  he always does, doesn't he? I expect those, as well as Gustavo to be involved in anything positive that Daejeon do. Plus, as long as we have Jean Claude-Bozga's calm head at the back, we should have a solid base to build from. 

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