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Highlights of Kim Gi-dong's first FC Seoul press conference - "If I didn't have confidence then I wouldn't be here"

New FC Seoul manager Kim Gi-dong says he's confident that he can bring success to the club and win titles. The 2023 K League 1 manager of the year spoke to the nation's press on Wednesday and fielded questions on an array of topics, K League United brings the highlights.

On being appointed manager of FC Seoul:

"It wasn't an easy decision (to leave Pohang for FC Seoul). Whilst at Pohang, after winning the FA Cup, I thought about making a change. Then the idea of FC Seoul came up. I thought about things a lot more. Even if I continued to do well (at Pohang), I heard talk of whether it (success at Seoul) would be possible because Kim Gi-dong is a Pohang man. I didn't pay too much attention to it but I thought that I would be able to assess myself (in taking the Seoul job). I wanted a new challenge and Seoul reached out to me. I wanted the new challenge to be at FC Seoul. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel pressure in coming here. There is pressure. But with new challenges, more than it being about pressure there's a lot of excitement. I come to Seoul with the belief that I can do well. This year I will try to help FC Seoul rediscover its glory. I am confident as well. Hopefully, we can put smiles on the fans' faces."

Biggest attraction of the Seoul job, first thoughts:

"I could have carried on and kept challenging myself at Pohang but then there's the danger of people thinking that I am only suited to the Pohang job. I need to get rid of those kinds of thoughts myself as well and show what I can do with another team. So I think FC Seoul is a good fit for me and that's why I chose to come to FC Seoul."

Seoul have big attendances but haven't performed; from the outside, his thoughts on what needs to be changed the most:

"For me, big attendances is a good thing. Having good players and playing well is what brings fans to stadiums. But, firstly, I don't think changing the results is the biggest problem. For a few years now the club hasn't been able to get results. From the outside, I also thought this was a pity. It was a shame. I'll try to play the kind of football the fans want and take the team at the top end of the table."

On what will be done to take the team to the top end of the table; immediate target:

"When facing FC Seoul, the biggest problem was that they have technical players. Hwang Ui-jo, Ki Sung-yueng, Willyan, and Cho Young-wook among others; there are a lot of technical players so it was difficult when trying to control FC Seoul. What I felt was lacking was cohesion. Having a lot of technical players helps but the team wasn't winning matches or trophies. I will get to work quickly on getting the players to work together as a team. Results haven't been there so it's been a case for the club of looking at finishing sixth but I am aiming for higher than that. We can't compete for the title right now but with qualifying for the ACL as the target, I'll try to get the results we need. I think that will increase the players' worth and help form the basis of a good team."


Position on older players like Ki Sung-yueng and Go Yo-han:

"I've only been with the team for a short time but I've had a lot of meetings with the club and talked about changes. With results not being good for a few seasons now, it's been a situation where managers have been the ones to take responsibility and leave. When looking at the results side of things, I think there's a responsibility, and that changes need to be made. With a generational shift in the team, I expect it to gain a bit of vitality. In terms of players, I am in constant communication with the CEO. I'm hoping for one or two 'presents'."

On which players he's looking forward to working with:

"All those players have left (laughing). Hwang Ui-jo, Hwang In-beom are good players. When we played FC Seoul we always looked to press from the front but they had Ki Sung-yeung so it was difficult - whether it was through finding ways to evade the press or through good passing. Now we're on the same team. I hope it'll be easier to press teams that now Ki Sung-yueng is on my team."

On what his plans are with the playing squad:

"At a team like Pohang, you're close to the players and we created a family atmosphere. It was comfortable. I haven't experienced this personally but at FC Seoul I heard that when players have their own personal time and they don't have close relationships with each other. We need to start by addressing that. Rather than it being a vertical relationship with the players, with a more horizontal relationship as a manager or a mentor, being close to the players and listening to their grievances and helping the players with these problems, then I think I can gain their belief. Results will come through that belief. I am getting ready to change that aspect."

You brought young players through at Pohang, Seoul have a lot of promising young players; on which players, in particular, stand out

"At the moment I don't have a lot of information on the younger players. But I know about players who have played a lot like Kang Seong-jin and Lee Tae-seok. After representing the national team at various youth levels, they are players who I think can play for the full national team. While training with them I will look after these young players, and I think it's my job to develop them. With that, the team will be in good shape and able to compete. I'll keep an eye on these young players and get them to grow." 

On what FC Seoul's identity is and means to a manager:

"If I didn't have confidence then I wouldn't be here. If the task was daunting or too much then I wouldn't have chosen FC Seoul. I'm here because I have the confidence. To be FC Seoul-like is to be leading the K League. Results, attendances, getting people talking (about the team) - all these aspects, first and foremost, or what we have to improve. So, I think I have considerable responsibility. Firstly, if results improve then the rest will follow. If results are better then being FC Seoul-like will come to the fore, I think. If more attention is paid to this then the club will move forward."

On what sort of players and style he wants:

"Fundamentally, I like to play football as a team without being biased towards individuals. That's what I take into consideration. Rather than keeping hold of the ball and breaking things up, I want a midfielder who can be direct and send the ball forward. Defense-wise, I want players who are a bit tougher. In football, if you're a bit flat then it's boring. Fighting together, that's what's enjoyable. From an attacking point of view, I want players with pace, I want players who can come up with the goods when we need it the most. I'm looking for players who can fit into the team's playing style rather than players who have individual ability."

With pre-season training beginning next week, thoughts on what he wants to instil in his team:

"Fitness and mentality are things that you must have as a professional footballer. I don't need to talk about those things. For now, as I'm new as well, I'll be thinking about the team's cohesion, and talking about the direction. I think we need to put emphasis on organisation."

On whether he has a message for the players:

"With not being able to make it into Final A for the last few years I think the players have lost their self-esteem. But as far as that goes, I want to show them that Kim Gi-dong is different. I hope that they believe in me as a manager, that's what I want to say. I want to show them that if they trust me and listen to me, we can make things happen."

Message to the fans:

"I don't want to say anything different. This year I want FC Seoul fans to be cheering for joy and smiling thanks to the football we play."

On whether he's spoken to Ki Sung-yueng and other players like Lim Sang-hyub:

"I had a long conversation over the phone with (Ki) Sung-yeung when he was overseas. I told him that I hope he signs a new contract quickly. FC Seoul is Ki Sung-yueng and Ki Sung-yueng is FC Seoul so let's try and do good things together, I said. I could feel that he has a lot of affection for the club. I think he will make the right choice. And, as for players like (Lim) Sang-hyub, they were already here. I didn't bring them here. I'm aware that he's been training during the off-season in order to make a comeback this year. He knows how I like to work and so I have said to him that I would like him to show the way to the players here. 

On whether he can win titles with FC Seoul:

"I have the confidence to think I can do it. Right now this season, it's about reaching the ACL rather than winning the title - that's the start. We'll assess things after that and if I am given the chance then I think winning the title. My personal goal while with FC Seoul is to win and lift trophies."

Full transcript via Newsis

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