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Kim Byung-soo named as new Gangwon FC Head Coach

Gangwon FC name Kim Byung-soo as their new head coach. He will replace Song Kyung-seob whose contract was terminated following Gangwon's 3-1 defeat to Jeonbuk Motors. Song was already on thin ice heading into the World Cup break, but failed to take advantage of the break to improve the failings of his squad.


Underachievers 

At the start of the season, Gangwon had looked one of the most exciting sides in the K League, but gradually their attacking play has become more predictable. In the game against Suwon Bluewings for example, they struggled to create anything of note after going behind and resorted to route one football. Their big problem has been an inability to defend, particularly from crosses. This was apparent before the World Cup break, but the only change made by Song was to bring in Han Yong-soo from Pocheon. Han's jumping isn't his strong point and he has regularly been beaten in the air from crosses since joining the side, so that fundamental weakness in Gangwon's game has not been fixed. Han wasn't in the side against Jeonbuk, but the league champions had more than enough headed chances to add to that 3-1 scoreline during the match. Song also rotated his three goalkeepers regularly, which may be good for team morale, but is a risky strategy when your team are already fragile at the back. After one win from 9 games after the break, and four defeats in a row, including an FA Cup loss to Gimhae, it is no surprise that Song had to leave Gangwon. The side had pre-season aspirations of qualifying for the Asian Champions' League, and spent a lot of money acquiring a squad that should easily be capable of a top-half finish, but will finish this weekend in 8th and out of the cup.

New Approach

Song's replacement Kim Byung-soo has a very good reputation among the Korean coaches I have talked to. He tries to get his teams to play attractive football, and had great success with Yeungnam University.  He is however, by his own admission, a coach who needs time to get his team to work, rather than one who comes in and gets instant results. Seoul Eland finished 8th under him last season. Eland have their own problems, one of which is their chopping and changing of managers every season, and Kim's Eland did get better in the second half of last season, but he will need to find a way to get results quickly if he is to survive in the cutthroat world of professional management. If he can manage that then he may get the time to build something really special at Gangwon.

Kim Byung-soo's first game in charge of Gangwon is an away trip to Jeonnam Dragons on Wednesday.

by Steve Price

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