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Interview: 'We're ready to give 100% this season for the fans' - Lazar Arsić

Seoul E-Land Lazar Arsic Interview

The 2020 K League 2 season is quickly approaching us and with an influx of players coming in and out of Korea, we have seen a lot of fresh new talent come into the K League. Our Seoul E-Land Columnist Michael Redmond, spoke with Serbian midfielder Lazar Arsić this week about life in Seoul, and the expectations for Seoul E-Land this year as well as the new coaching and changes within the Leopards camp. He also discussed his friendship with fellow players within the league.
Image via (facebook.com/seouleland)

Michael Redmond: Welcome to Seoul. How are your first impressions of Seoul, and Korea in general?

Lazar Arsić: Thanks for the welcome. From the first day from when I came to Seoul. I felt happy to be here, I had a positive vibe about everything. Everything from the first day here was good for me. Because of this, I started to train well and they have really accepted me into the team. As well as the other foreigners (Richard Sukutu-Pasu and Leandro) into the side. for us, this is one of the most important things, that we are accepted with the Korean teammates. So I just have nothing but good words to say about them.

MR: How do you feel about finally getting to play competitive football, after a long period of just training?

LA: Everybody is so excited about it. We live for the games, we live for the league and the cup games. Everybody is happy and everybody also expects a lot from us this season, because Seoul E-Land has made a lot of changes this season. They have brought in a new coach, new staff. They have also brought in a lot of players. So, everyone is excited over that, and everyone wants to see how we will perform this season, for us.

MR: The boss is a well-established manager, with a U20 World Cup final already to his name. The boss, Chung Jung-yong has made big changes in the offseason. How do you feel about his leadership in training? Has he helped you in your development and used you to bring a new style of football to the younger Korean players?

LA: Yes we, [the team] have a great relationship with him. He really has helped me a lot since I have arrived here, as well as Leandro, and Sukutu-Pasu, he has helped us a lot. He always wants to help us as much as possible, and he tells us what he expects from us. This is one of the most important things when you have a good connection with the coach and all his staff. This is really the best thing for a foreign player who is playing in the K League, and in Asia in general.

MR: We have seen a friendship between you, Leandro, and Sukutu-Pasu on social media, throughout the last few weeks. How do you think your bonding will help with performances on the pitch?

LA: Yes, we are happy together. This is an important thing for the team because our connection between us is really good. We also give some positive influences on the team in training as well. We are almost spending every day together. Every day we go for lunch, coffee after training. Before training, we travel together. You can also see us on social media, we post a lot, we enjoy the time together. This is really a good thing for the atmosphere of the team. 

Seoul E-Land's three foreign signings, Lazar Arsić, Leandro, and Richard Sukutu-Pasu. Image Via (facebook.com/seouleland
When the team has a good atmosphere, the team can show much more ability, than you can if the team is not bonding well. Everybody expects a lot from us, and this is important to have good chemistry between us. I believe our connection is a good thing for Seoul E-Land.

MR: You have come into an E-Land side who have finished last in the last two seasons. What do you think you can bring to the Seoul E-Land this year?

LA: This is a little bit difficult to say, as we don't know much about the Korean league, and the other teams. This is one of the only things that is not great for us. However, everybody in the club is trying to help us, to show us the other teams. We are always studying the other teams. They really want to show us and present us what Korean football is like, what is the style, and what we need to do. Also, what we need to change. These are good things from the coaching staff. I really need to say it again. The Seoul E-Land staff have really tried to help us to adapt here as much as possible.

MR: You have played for a number of teams throughout your career in Serbia, Hungary, Greece, and China. Do you believe your experience of playing in different teams and countries will help your versatility and bring a new dynamic to the Seoul E-Land side?

LA: Yes, of course, it's a big difference when you play in your home country than in other countries. I have played in four countries now, so I have some more experience than other players, who have only played in Korea. I think that I can bring something new for Seoul E-Land, this team, and for the other two foreign players. From what I see now, from what is going on, I think we will have a really good season.

MR: You started your career in Hungary, then Serbia. But what has been the highlight, or pivotal moment of your career so far?

LR: The start of my football career was in Hungary when I was 19 years old. That was my first professional contract. So, after that I went back to Serbia, after that, I went to Greece. After Greece, I went back to Serbian, and then to China. So after China, I am finally in Korea. I really want to show my best football here in Korea, and I feel I can do this. I am of a good age, I have the experience, from before, and I really really want to do something here in Korea. 

"There is a really good atmosphere in the Seoul E-Land camp this year. We are all working together to do our best"- Lazar Arsić. Image Via (facebook.com/seouleland
Also, I need to say, because I have some friends here as well, I feel like I am at home. Especially Dejan Damjanović He is a legend in Korean football. Also, Stefan Mugoša, who plays for Incheon United. He is also my good friend. With these players and my agency, Ivan Sports. They make me feel like I at home. There is nothing much that I miss. Okay, my family of course [laughs], but they take care of me every day. This is what a new player in a new country needs to show he is the best. This is the most important thing.

MR: What advertises the K League to European players coming to Korea? Is this becoming more appealing for European players to come to Korea?

LA: Yes, I hope this is good advertising for the European players. Now, it has a little bit changed. We don't see as many players from Europe come here, due to the limit in the number of foreign players a team is allowed in their squad. A lot of clubs in Asia, they like to bring in tall strikers, who are strong. These types of strikers, you do not get in Europe. They are more apparent in South America and Africa. I really hope that Korea can see that we have some big names, some really good strikers come in from Serbia, from Montenegro. I hope there will be more in the future.

MR: Under the circumstances of late, the games will be played behind closed doors. How do you feel the lack of fans will influence the games for the team?

LA: Yes, for us, the most important thing to think about is the game. We need to focus on the pitch and not think about any distractions we may have. We just need to concentrate on the full 90 minutes, this is the most important thing. For the clubs who have some really big, and passionate fans, this is a big thing. Some teams need the fans in the stadium. For some clubs, they are like a 12th man on the pitch. For these teams, it may be difficult to play behind closed doors.

I can see that Korea is a very good country. Very good organisation, so from the beginning, they have been fighting this virus very well. I hope was will get back to normal very quickly, for the fans to come back into the stadium. So we will be one of the first leagues to start again. Okay, some leagues did not stop throughout this situation, but the Korean league is one of the biggest leagues in Asia, and it will start first. So this will be a big opportunity for us. Everybody loves football, everybody wants to play, everybody wants to watch football. I really hope they will fix this problem as quickly as possible, and from as soon as it is safe, the fans can come back into the stadium.

MR: Due to the situation, we have seen a lot of other countries take note of the K League in recent weeks. How do you feel about all these new K League fans, and countries now having all eyes on the K League this weekend?

LA: Of course, I am so excited, everybody's eyes will be on us for this opening game. We are one of two or three leagues who play in this situation. It is a good opportunity for us now to show the world, everyone will watch us. It is an opportunity for the players to show the world what they can do in the K League. It is really good for us players in Korea, we are really excited, for this special moment.

MR: What are your expectations for yourself, and for Seoul E-Land this year?

LA: Yes, it is a little too early to tell how the season will go. For me, I expect the best football now. I want to play the best I can. I want this to be the best football of my career. I think I will show that this year in Korea. I came here, and I feel really good. I am so happy and positive about everything in Korea. All these things make footballers better players, and I really feel that this season will be one of the best seasons of my career.

Seoul E-Land have been waiting patiently for the season to start. Image via (facebook.com/seouleland

[What] I will bring, is something I have had for all of my career. That is giving 100%. I am focused, I want to fight, and give my best and everything for this club. I think they will recognise this. They will really start to like me in the Seoul E-Land fan base. I will always give my best to the fans.

MR: Final question. Do you any special, or personal message for the Seoul E-Land fans? Or anything you wish to say to them?

LA: I just want to say, please come and support us like always before. To be with us, and I know that this year, this team will give everything. We will give all our best this year, we want the fans to be really happy this year. We will try to promote ourselves to K League 1, if this happens, it would be great for everyone. As well as all the Seoul E-Land fans. I really want to do that this year, we have changed a lot this year, and the atmosphere in the camp is really good. I really believe we can make some good result this season.

Once, again we would like to thanks Lazar Arsić and Ivan Sports for taking the time for the interview in the lead up to Round 1 of the 2020 K League 2 Season

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