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KLU Monthly Awards - May

As the K League 1 table starts to truly take shape, Football Radar's Alex Lee is back with his Player, Young Player, and Manager of the Month for May as the summer months loom large.

Player of the Month - Aleksandar Pešić (FC Seoul)

K League’s hectic fixture schedule in May was an opportunity for its strikers to shine, and FC Seoul’s Aleksandar Pešić delivered what the fans and media expected from him.

Along with Sangju’s Park Yong-ji and Jeonbuk’s Kim Shin-wook, Pešić recorded three goals this month. However, his ability to beat players and create chances offered more to the team than a typical centre-forward does. This by no means suggests that his finishing falls behind others, as shown by his second goal against Sangju.

Pešić’s synergy with veteran striker Park Chu-young, who already has a goal and an assist himself in June, has been the driving force behind FC Seoul as they provide a balance of energy and experience on the attack. When the Serbian forward missed the Super Match due to an injury, his team lacked an attacking threat and the game became a ‘what if’ for the fans.

Pešić is currently the league’s joint top scorer with seven goals and it is widely anticipated that he will be up there towards the end of the season.

Shortlist
Park Yong-ji (Sangju Sangmu FC)
Kim Shin-wook (Jeonbuk Hyundai)


Young Player of the Month - Lee Soo-bin (Pohang Steelers)

The U-20 World Cup called up several youngsters from Korea which provided an opening for new talent to appear in the K League scene. In May, Pohang’s 19-year-old Lee Soo-bin shined the brightest among the future stars.

The young central midfielder idolises Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets as they have a similar playstyle. Lee’s calmness on the ball, an attribute rarely seen in Korean football, was the catalyst behind Pohang’s good run of form as it helped forwards like Kim Seung-dae and Wanderson to play with freedom on the attack. His average pass completion rate of 90% epitomises his quality as he is confident in possession and not afraid to play difficult through balls.

Earlier this season, replacing Connor Chapman was a problem for Pohang, but the club have now found their solution. From what I have seen, this kid could become a Korean international. 

Shortlist
Jung Seung-won (Daegu FC)
Lee Dong-kyung (Ulsan Hyundai FC)

Manager of the Month - Kim Do-hoon (Ulsan Hyundai FC)


Manager of the Month - Kim Do-hoon (Ulsan Hyundai FC)

Various managers in the K League deserved credit for their team’s performance this month. New manager Kim Gi-dong led Pohang to a four game winning streak whereas Choi Yong-soo had another unbeaten month with FC Seoul. After consideration, my choice for Manager of the Month went to Ulsan’s Kim Do-hoon. 

Ulsan faced a tough month after losing key defenders Dave Bulthuis and Yun Young-sun to injuries. Their first game in May was a defeat against Pohang in the Donghaean derby and the team had just three days to prepare for an important Asian Champions League fixture. Ulsan were further pressured by their title race against Jeonbuk.

Through this stressful period, Kim Do-hoon led his players to a 2-1 win against Jeonbuk which saw them overtake their opponents in the league. Ulsan then went on to win two more games and draw one. Kim also incorporated wingers Lee Keun-ho and Hwang Il-soo into the squad after they returned from their respective long term injuries, which allowed existing players to be rotated during their busy schedule. Ulsan’s achievements in May were made possible under Kim Do-hoon’s management.

Shortlist
Choi Yong-soo (FC Seoul)
Kim Gi-dong (Pohang Steelers)

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