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Alex Grant Interview: "We're going to have to keep pushing forward"


Pohang Steelers centre back Alex Grant says he and his teammates will just have to keep pushing forward if they are to catch East Coast Debry rivals Ulsan Hyundai. Grant got himself on the scoresheet in Tuesday's 1-1 draw away to Daegu FC but with the Horangi beating Gangwon FC, the gap is now 11 points. K League United's Muyeol Jung caught up with Grant after the match.

A header from a corner in the 21st minute gave Pohang Steelers the lead and Alex Grant his first goal of the season. But an equaliser from Japanese midfielder Keita Suzuki seven minutes before the interval was enough to see the spoils shared. 

The result means Pohang are third in the table, 11 points behind Ulsan and, following FC Seoul's 3-1 win over Gwangju FC, three points behind the capital club.

Q: It was a bright start to the game for Pohang but a bit scrappy in the second half. What are your thought on the result?

A: "We're coming off the back of two losses, so it was important to rectify that and obviously try and get a win tonight. Ultimately we didn't do that, but, you know, to come to this stadium and get a point, I guess is not the worst result. We don't tend to pick up a lot of points in this ground. It is, for some reason, always hard and yeah, I guess after a bright start and scoring pretty early we considered a sloppy goal that we were a bit disappointed about.

"In the second half, it was maybe a little bit scrappy, a few tired legs with the schedule, but we still created chances with the football we played. And I think really we were unlucky not to take the three points."

Q: A 1-1 draw, you score the only goal for Pohang, and that is also the first goal of the season for yourself. And actually, this goal also marks the first Pohang goal from a set play this season. Did you know that? Can you talk us through that moment?

A: "Me and Zeca, we talked before the game and talked on the pitch as well about trying to get a block. Cause I mean, this year, I don't know, the defenders within the box have, I don't know, there's a lot of pushing and shoving going on, but I mean, the referees allow it, and that's what it's all about. And I enjoy it, I like the battle that we have, and it's the same at the other end when we are defending. So it's good. I just, I knew if the ball was right, which it was, I had a free run, you know, and still had a bit to do with the finish, but I just stuck my head in and obviously got on the end of it.

"But like I said, I feel like he's been coming, you know? We always look a threat from set plays. We always create chances. It just hasn't happened yet. So obviously with the goal tonight, hopefully, we get a few more now going forward from set pieces."




Q: 1-1 at halftime and the second half saw the change of the flow and the game became very wide open, I think. In terms of Pohang's performance, quite similar in fashion from Jeju away, Pohang really couldn't make the end product in front of goal. I might be asking this question to the wrong person, but how do you think this can be improved? 

A: "I mean, look, as long as we're creating chances, that's the main thing for me. I think when a team isn't creating chances and they're lacking creativity in and around the box, that's when there's an issue. But you know, we take the positives from it, we are creating good opportunities. You see, (Goh) Young-jun, the boys will get around him. He missed a big chance tonight that could have got us the three points, but, you know, I had another header. There was still half chances in the game where we could have took the lead. But he'll save us, you know, he scored two against Ulsan. There'll be other games in the season where he'll help us out and other people will chipping as well."

Q: So, 12 games into the season and we have played the 11 teams once and Pohang at the moment, currently sitting third in the table, how do you assess Pohang's performance so far?

A:  "A week and a half ago we were sitting there unbeaten just behind Ulsan and now we've 11 points behind them in the space of a week and a half. So it's funny how quickly it can change, but that's the reality of it. We know that it can change back very quickly, I mean, Ulsan are doing very well at the moment and they're the team to catch obviously this season so we're gonna have to keep pushing forward and try and pick up some wins. Now we've got a big game against Daejeon on Saturday, so that will be hard but we're at home and we'll take some confidence from this game."


Q: Final question. So many away fans made the trip to Daegu tonight, despite the game kicking off on a Tuesday night I know just both cities are only like a hundred kilometers apart but any final word to traveling fans tonight?

A: "Pohang fans are amazing. Whether we're at the Steel Yard or whether we're away, they always turn out and you hear them the whole game. Some of them might not think that we can, [but] we can hear them and I can tell you now, like throughout the game, they do drive you on, especially on a night like this when Daegu maybe haven't got a full house, they really can be heard and it does give us that extra drive and it gives us that extra lift.

"From where I come from, we call him the 12th man, that extra player on the park, and like I said, the Pohang fans, they were amazing tonight - they're amazing all the time. So yeah, big credit to them. I hope everyone gets home safe."

FNR

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