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FA Cup Interview: 'We can get to the final', Daejeon Korail's Kim Tae-eun

Defying all the odds, and knocking out three K League teams along the way, National League side Daejeon Korail are set to face Sangju Sangmu of K League 1 in the FA Cup Semifinal this W. Former Daejeon Citizen and Seoul E-Land defender Kim Tae-eun, who has played in each of the Iron Horses' K League giant killings, speaks exclusively to K League United ahead Wednesday's first leg.
(Image via Daejeon Korail Facebook)

This season has gone well for Korail, you sit third and in the playoff places. The team must be very confident at the moment?

"For every FA Cup game we just say let's do what we've done previously and take it game by game. That's how we've done it so far to get to the semi finals and get good results. The manager has also told us not to be nervous; relax and we can get the result we want. Because of that we've been able to do well, I think."

Do you think Ulsan, Seoul E-Land and Gangwon underestimated Korail? What are your thoughts heading into this historic FA Cup semi final? Have you thought about a possible final?


"I was also a K League player and have experience of playing in the FA Cup against lower division teams and so I can remember how much pressure there is. I don't think it's a case of underestimating, more that there is more of a burden on them [the bigger teams] to get the result and so that’s why those three teams [Ulsan, Seoul E-Land, Gangwon] couldn’t get the result they wanted, I think.

Kim Tae-eun (L) in action for Daejeon Citizen against his former club Seoul E-Land in 2017.
"For us on the other side it’s a dream to get to the semifinals. But I would be lying if I said that there are no expectations placed on us. The games in the lead up to this one, we’ve enjoyed them and been able to relax. If we show what we are capable of then we can get to the final." 

The club has made it to one semi final before, but that was when the team was Incheon Korail. You have already made history, but what would an FA Cup Final appearance mean to you?

"In his playing days, the manager [Kim Seung-hee] was also able to reach the semifinals and so he has told us a lot about it. Of course the players and the coaching staff at Daejeon Korail take great pride in the fact that we are heading into the semi finals. It’s a dream even to play in the semifinals but playing in the final would be the highlight of my career."

Ulsan, E-Land, and Gangwon all have different playing styles and so the flow of the games was different. What are you expecting from Sangju?

"I think we just faced those teams we have played so far as it was a league game. There’ll will be a little bit of a gap in fitness levels but we aren’t nervous and if we tackle the game in the way which we have prepared then we can get the win."

This year the semi final is played over two legs, how do you feel about that? Do you think it favours the bigger team?

"To be honest, if there was just one leg then we have more chance of winning. I think it’s [two legs] a big plus factor for the stronger teams."

Finally, how will Korail deal with Sangju?

"Never think it’s going to be easy. They are a stronger team than us. Most people are expecting Sangju to make it to the final but we have beaten three K League teams along the way so we need to show Sangju why we are not an easy team to face."

YouTube FA Cup Semifinal Preview Show



Audio Version


If you would like to download this episode, you can find The K League United Podcast every Thursday on Football Nation Radio.

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