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2023 Season Review: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors B



Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors B finished the 2023 K4 League season in sixth place in the standings. Despite having several opportunities to break into and remain in the top four throughout the season, they couldn't secure the potential promotion places in the end, missing out by just three points. As a result, they will have to settle for another season of K4 football, while the closest B team to them in the table, Daegu FC B, takes up K3 League football, having secured automatic promotion. 

The young green warriors did make progress, building on last year with a mixture of new and remaining players, but also faced its fair share of difficulty and the unique challenge as a B side trying to maintain a promotion push while often having to incorporate and rehabilitate A team players.


Positives


Potent Attack
The B team's main strength this season was their attacking options, especially on the wing. With Lee Joon-ho out on loan to Jeonnam Dragons earlier in the season, wingers Kim Chang-hoon, Lee Sung-yoon, and Park Chae-jun stepped up and scored nine, eight, and seven goals respectively, making them the team's top three goalscorers.

Overall, going forward was definitely the strong point of the team. Some of the breakaway goals scored, general play down the flanks, and then into the centre were excellent and made for some entertaining displays. There were plenty of games where Jeonbuk B scored three or more goals. One notable win was a 6-0 thrashing of Gangwon B. Set-pieces were another strength, and the team posed a goal threat with free-kicks.

Coping Well With Losing Players
Jeonbuk B largely coped satisfactorily after losing Lee Joon-ho early on in the season, as there were other sufficient attacking options. The departure of Park Jin-seong on loan to Chungbuk Cheongju was more of a loss, and the team further sustained two massive losses in the summer as Lee Min-hyeok and Kang Sang-yoon departed on loan to Gyeongnam FC and Busan IPark, respectively.

The loss of those players undoubtedly impacted the team, and there is a good chance promotion would have been achieved if they had stayed. However, the squad proved their quality, coping well, considering how big of a loss those players were. This is an encouraging sign, proving that the squad still maintained quality players and was not being carried by the likes of Kang Sang-yoon and Lee Joon-ho.


Challenges


A Team Interference
Very often this year, Jeonbuk B had to give minutes to A team players who were making their way back from injury or weren't receiving minutes in the senior squad, making the B team kind of like a rehabilitation or training centre for A team players. In total, 45 appearances for players over the age of 23 for the B team this season. Yun Young-sun, Choi Chul-soon, Ryu Jae-moon, and Maeng Seong-ung being some of the older players to feature most often.

Of course, manager Ahn Dae-hyun had no choice but to comply with orders from above. It did have a mostly negative impact on the team and took opportunities away from younger players, diminishing the entire point of the B team.

It could be argued that having high-quality players on the team benefited their performance on the pitch. However, this only was the case a few times, like when Lee Dong-jun showed his quality and scored the winning goal in the Jeonju Derby. In most cases, it disrupted team cohesion because players were forced to play with A team players they had little to no chemistry with.

Defensive Issues
Defence was the main concern for Jeonbuk B this season as the quality of defenders at Ahn Dae-hyun's disposal was not nearly as high as that of the players further up the pitch. It was a glaring weakness all season. 

The team frequently lost vital points due to defensive errors, which tended to occur late in the games. It wasn't just errors. Generally, teams could break the defensive line easily if the ball wasn't intercepted in the midfield or further on up. It was too easy for opposing teams to exploit the defensive weaknesses.



How Well Did The Players Develop?


Many players who left during the season have had successful loan spells and have improved their game. Kang Sang-yoon has shown at Busan that he is too good to play in K4. Similarly, Lee Min-hyeok gained valuable game time in K League 2 with Gyeongnam.

Lee Joon-ho has been in the Jeonbuk A side towards the end of the season as Petrescu's preferred Under-22 option. He is still a bit raw, but every game he is settling and progressing at that level.

Park Chae-jun and Kim Chang-hoon had impressive seasons and could earn playing time at Jeonbuk A next year or on loan elsewhere.

Others who had full-seasons with the B team have also advanced their game. Valuable game time has been received by some who were called upon due to the various exits, either players leaving on loan or called up to team A.

The main goal of the B team is to give young players a chance to play and to prepare them for senior-level football. There will be many changes to the squad over the off-season, as there always is every year for B teams. Many will depart the club, some will make it to professional level, and others will fall short, maybe even retire.

The Jeonbuk B team of this year boasts a number of promising young talents. It is difficult to predict their future careers, but many have shown promise throughout the season. Together, this group has demonstrated their ability to compete against senior K4 clubs, much like they did last year. Moreover, they have surpassed the B team's tenth-place finish from the previous season.

FNR

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