‘Freshly minted’ faith explodes “Lee Ho-jae now confident in using 1 option”

“I think I’ve gained the confidence to use (Lee) as my No. 1 option now.”

Pohang head coach Kim Ki-dong has expressed his intention to use ‘long-haired striker’ Lee Ho-jae (23) as his first-choice striker.

Pohang won its 2023 Hana One Q K League 1 Round 17 home match against Jeju at the Pohang Steel Yard on Saturday 2-1 with a celestial header from Park Seung-wook in second-half stoppage time after the teams were tied 1-1.

With the win, Pohang improved to 8 W, 6 D, 3 L (30 points) and moved up one spot to second place. Jeju had to end their unbeaten streak at eight matches.

Lee Ho-jae started the match and scored the first goal in the 20th minute. A long pass from Wandelsson in the midfield hit the head of a defender, and when the ball came up in the air, the onrushing Lee calmly struck a right-footed shot that rattled the net. His fifth goal of the season.

Lee won Kim’s heart not only with his goals but also with his active defense and work rate.

After the game, Kim said, “It was a difficult time. We had a lot of injuries. We had a lot of young players, and I had to think a lot about the decision. 스포츠토토 (Lee) Ho-jae and (Kim) Jun-ho did their part. Seung-dae was patient as we kept getting injured, and Chan Yong-i was patient even when he wasn’t 100 percent. It was difficult, but I was able to stand up,” he said.

He also talked about his faith in Lee Ho-jae. “He scored a lot of goals from the first round, and in fact, his header at the end of the second half should have gone in,” Kim said. “Ho-jae showed that he can be satisfied with his delivery and screen play. I said the other day that Zeca would have to be nervous, but now there’s no such thing as Zeca being the number one option in my head. I think she’s gained the confidence to use her as an option.”

On developing young players, he said, “I’m in the position of having to develop young players during the game. It’s still not easy. But complaining about the situation doesn’t change it. You have to do the best you can with what you have.”

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