By Jong Tae-Se
This was a very important match because I wanted to make a good impression before joining the national team in a decisive match for our qualifying hopes.
We allowed the first two goals, but in an absolutely unbelievable result I scored three goals and an assist in our HUGE 5-3 come-from-behind victory.
This was our second league win in a row, and I felt incredibly accomplished after being able to help my team. This was my fourth time starting this season, but following the match there's someone I really want to thank: our new manager, Andreas Bergmann.
Even though I've been unsteady and felt like I was hitting my limit, he started me after he took over as coach. But after I didn't play well in two matches there was a lot of heckling from our supporters. I was criticised a lot on Facebook; some days that I couldn't walk around town for fear of everyone's eyes on me.
My scoreless matches continued, and the last goal I could remember was in March. This is incredibly tough for a striker; if you can't score then you're practically worthless. But despite that, we were able to break our losing streak in the ninth round and I felt relieved. However, the winning goal was scored by a substitute, so I didn't expect to start in the next match.
I was happy my team won, but there was also an uneasy feeling that words couldn't explain. I put those fears aside and devoted myself to practice in order to make something out of the next match.
Normally I'm sweating bullets before our starting lineup is announced, but this week I ended up on the front line with Takashi Inui.
Honestly, after considering the circumstances of the player who scored for us last week, I really worried if I was good enough to start. But I'm turning 28 soon, and that makes me somewhat of a veteran. I practiced without mistakes or hesitation, so it didn't take me long to get back into the mood to play at 100 per cent.
I've been hearing a certain phrase lately: "It's better to regret doing something than regret doing nothing." I completely agree, but in my case it should be: "It's better to regret doing something positive than regret doing something negative." If you think negatively, it becomes self-destructive. It happened to me: once I had doubts, before I knew it I was getting closer and closer to my worst possible results.
For example, the final match of last season's promotion/relegation series. In the away match I came on during the second half, but I was embarrassingly unable to do anything. If I had been able to think positively after that I might have been able to start the home leg. But during practice I kept thinking about my failures in that match and it affected my play; I wasn't included in the roster for the second match. I've done nothing to make me feel dumber, angrier, or more shameful than that.
So after that, I decided that I would forget everything that had happened in the past. Even if I had a lot of misses in practice, or didn't score a goal, I wouldn't worry about it and look forward.
Coach Hermann believed in me, and that's why he was able to overlook my form and use me in the match. I still have to keep giving him good results, but I was able to pay him back just a little.
After the match he was the first person I wanted to thank. It's hard for a player to do this; if other players see you they think you're trying to flatter the coach and there's a lot of backbiting. Actually, a lot of my team-mates have called me the 'coach's son' half-jokingly…
But even so I absolutely had to give him my thanks.
"Ich muss dir danken, weil du mich Spiel in folge aufgestellt hast."
I'm not sure if that's correct. And I usually never come out and talk to the coach, so I was pretty nervous when I said it. After all, the league isn't over yet…
I hadn't been able to score until now, so I felt a lot of pressure. In weeks when I didn't score and we lost, I felt guilty walking around town.
In the half-year that I didn't score, or if you want to go back further the last match of last season, I haven't been able to appear in many matches. I wasn't really able to correct my style, and somewhere along the way I lost my goal-scoring sense. The Jong Tae-se that wouldn't hesitate to shoot in front of the goal disappeared, and I started to waste my chances.
The day before the match I talked to my brother on the phone, and when I told him about it he said: "If you don't fight for goals you're nothing!" in his Nagoya accent. It really made me feel… lighter.
I can't count the number of times my family has helped me out. But they always use simple words. All they have to say is "You can do it!" and it gives me a lot of strength.
It's probably obvious, but when my family says that it stays in my heart. Maybe it's because I truly trust them. All I can do is thank them.
In any case, I want to thank my manager for having faith in me and using me in the match.
Because of this my play will absolutely improve. Especially in my nation team matches, I definitely think I'll be able to show off better play than I did against Japan. I forgive the newspapers for giving me low scores!
Even when people complain about me on Facebook, that's okay. Because from now on I'm going to keep laying down a path to glory.
On a totally different note, there were a lot of bugs at the stadium during the match! I think everyone knows, but these are the kind of bugs that swarm around your head. They have them in Japan too but I don't know what they're called.
Apparently they're attracted to carbon dioxide, so they appear near people's faces. I didn't like them in Japan, but here they keep flying into my face.
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