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Mislav Oršić and Vedran Jugović Interview


Week 7 is upon us and with that Ulsan is in town for a 3pm kick off on Saturday. The Dragons notched their first Classic win in week 6 at Incheon and both teams looked strong, in the K league Cup on Wednesday, with convincing wins respectively. A few ex-Dragon players will be lacing them up for Ulsan on Saturday, including former fan favorite – Mislav Oršić (above). This week's preview is a bit different as Alex Meyer and I sat down and asked 24-year-old Ulsan attacker Oršić and 27-year-old Jeonnam midfielder, Vedran Jugović, ex-teammates, and fellow countrymen, a few questions
(header images via Yonhapnews.com)


Did you enjoy the couple of seasons spent with the Jeonnam Dragons and your time playing with another Croatian player - Vedran Jugović?

Mislav Oršić : Yes, I really enjoyed my one and half year in Jeonnam, especially the last 6 months when Vedran Jugović and Stevica Ristic were there because we had good relations on the pitch and outside of the pitch. We enjoyed every moment.

It must have been hard for you coming all the way from Croatia to play soccer with the Jeonnam Dragons in South Korea, but having another player from Croatia already here when you arrived must have helped settled you in. How much of a help was Oršić and how did you feel after he left for China?

Vedran JugovićI said many times it wasn't easy and it was a big change for me but also I was looking forward to it as it was a new challenge and experience. I was lucky because I had two great football players - and even greater people - to help me adapt quickly. Stevo [ex Jeonnam striker, Steviva Ristic] and Oršić were not only my teammates - we were like a small Balkan family in Gwangyang! I miss them both a lot but I'm happy for Stevo because now he is on a well deserved post-career vacation with his family and also I was happy for Oršić when he got the chance for a new experience in China because he really deserved it.

How did you feel about leaving the Dragons and heading to China?

MO: When I was leaving Jeonnam I felt a little sad because I knew my situation in club was nice and I enjoyed every moment there, but on the other hand I was happy because in front of me was a new challenge in China.

How much has the Dragon’s team and style changed since Oršić played with you?

VJ: It was a hard moment for Dragons when Oršić left but we managed it and achieved some really good results. Many Korean players took responsibility and we were maybe better as a team and also we got two great players in Tomi [Jeonnam’s 26-year-old Australian center back, Tomislav Mrcela] and Jair [Jeonnam’s 28-year-old Brazilian number 10, Jair Eduardo].


Mislav Oršić signs for Ulsan Hyundai in February 2017
(image via the-afc.com)
You returned to the K-League with Ulsan and are now playing in the Asian Champions League. How much have you enjoyed your time with Ulsan and what’s your new adopted home like?

MO: Of course I was happy when I came back to Korea, to Ulsan. Ulsan is one of the biggest clubs in Korea and it's really nice to play in the Champions league because you have an opportunity to play against the best clubs from other countries, who play a different style of football to Korean clubs.

This will be your third game back from injury; how’s the body feeling and how are your fitness and confidence levels?

VJ: I got injured two days before the first round and it was really bad for me. I was sad and angry at the same time…but now it’s ok. With every game, I improve my condition and form and of course if we start winning more, I’ll have more confidence on the field.

You had some beautiful free kick goals and great home play for the Dragons, how do you feel about coming back to the Dragon’s Den and what type of fan reception do you foresee?

MO: I'm excited to come back to Jeonnam stadium, of course now in another shirt color, because I have some nice memories from there. But Korean fans are very nice and there will be no problem.

When you and Oršić last played together, there was some great chemistry on the field.

VJ: Yeah, Oršić and me had a great chemistry outside the field and on the field. I even knew when my eyes were closed where he was or where he would pass the ball, but of course it was easier for us because we speak the same language and this helped us a lot. And both of us love the same style of football with many passes and movement.

Can you tell me a little about you opponent, what are his strengths and weaknesses, if any?

MO: Jugo is very good midfield player, but he also has the ability to play as a winger. He gives everything for the team, reads the game very well, gives nice passes to attackers and can make a lot of goals... Without him, Jeonnam would not be the same.

VJ: I could speak about Oršić's strong points, but I think he speaks enough for himself on the field. He’s shown everyone that he’s a great player who makes a difference, scores a lot of goals and because he’s still young, I think he can still achieve a really high level of football. I hope we will find out his weakness on Saturday. Haha!


Jugović helping the Dragons to their first points of the season versus Incheon last time out
(image via Dragons.co.kr)
You’ve finally got some points on the board after the away victory over Incheon and managed to win your cup game too against Jeonju midweek. Why has your form improved lately and do you think the change in formation has helped?

VJ: Yes, we finally got three points. It looks like we’re slow starters every year – haha! To be honest, I'm not the one who needs to speak about our formation, but I can say at this moment I prefer the one we played in Incheon. But also the mental condition of the players and team confidence are very important and you can only improve these things by winning.
                                        
What kind of a game do you expect this week?

MO: I expect a hard game because they won their last game against Incheon and the FA cup game [against Jeonju midweek]. They have confidence for the next game, but we have our tactics and we are coming ready for a good game.

Would it feel a little extra special to get a win against Ulsan and Oršić?

VJ: I would love to get this win, of course. Maybe it would feel a little special, but it’s just one of the many games we must give one hundred percent and try to win.

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