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Promotion Just "Part of the Process" According to Nam Ki-il


Jeju United wrapped up the K League 2 title last season in early November with a home victory against Seoul E-Land, capping their first domestic crown since 1989.  Nam Ki-il had a great deal to do with putting the club in a position to succeed, from assembling a competent squad to devising a winning tactical strategy to promoting a change in culture at the club following relegation after the 2019 season.  KLU's Branko Belan has a closer look.
 

There is cause for optimism ahead of the 2021 campaign for Jeju United as they return to the top flight following a successful 2020 season which saw them gain automatic promotion thanks to their championship-winning success.  The islanders distanced themselves from the rest of the pack, staying unbeaten from August until the end of the season.

However, according to manager Nam Ki-il, winning a title last year is just part of the process.  There is still a lot of work to be done, and a lot of room for players to grow and develop.


Continuity in the Squad


The captaincies have remained unchanged for 2021, meaning that Lee Chang-min will wear the captain's armband once again with Kwon Han-jin and Ahn Hyun-beom as his deputies.  They are preferred for their leadership qualities and ability to act as a collective bridge for the rest of the squad.

Jeju had success in K League 2 because of the establishment of a chain of communication throughout the team between the players, staff, and coaches.  That communication will be a key ingredient to any success the islanders hope to achieve this year, but with the foundation already in place, they can approach things with a great deal of confidence, without having to worry about making concrete plans for the near future.


A Change in Culture


Upon his arrival at the club, Nam Ki-il initially felt unsure about the negative atmosphere but worked diligently to transform the club's space into a positive one, and it certainly paid dividends.  

One of the main reasons for Jeju's success was the return of Jung Woon, who successfully transitioned from left back to center back, allowing the manager to be more flexible with his tactical considerations.  One player who benefited, in particular, was Jung Woo-jae, who had a productive year and who has re-signed with the club for another season.  However, it was Jung Woon who was the catalyst for the islanders' change in fortunes in the back as they conceded the least amount of goals in the second division last year.


The full interview with Nam Ki-il will be available shortly.  Jeju prepare to face Seongnam FC in their first match of the season on Monday, March 1st.  

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