New Korea coach Hong Myung-Bo: I will select players to make the best team

The former national team captain takes over the reins on a two-year contract and emphasised the importance of teamwork within the squad at his first press conference
The team should always come first, declared South Korea coach Hong Myung-Bo at his first press conference on Tuesday in his new role after taking over from Choi Kang-Hee on Monday.

The former national team captain was appointed by the Korea Football Association on a two-year deal to lead the team at the 2014 World Cup and the Asian Cup in 2015, and was speaking after he flew back home from the United States.

"I know this is a difficult situation but I will devote my everything for Korean football," Hong declared.

"The team should always come first. It's good to have a leader but I prefer 23 leaders in my team. Our slogan is 'One Team, One Spirit, One Goal'.

"Any player who cannot follow this won't be recalled to the national team. I'm not going to select the best players; I'll select players so I can make the best team."

Hong led the Under-23 side to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and underlined his coaching credentials, but he insisted those players would not have automatically progress to the senior side.

"It's true that I had spent a fantastic three years with them, but the past cannot guarantee the future," he asserted.

"I have to check the form of all the players before I select them for the national team."

The 44-year-old Korean football legend also ruled out the return of former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung to the national fold.

"He [Park] has done a lot for Korean football, but his will - he's not thinking of coming back - is the most important thing," Hong maintained.

"I had already said this when he announced his retirement from the national team."

Hong also explained why he chose to take on only two years, and acknowledged that the fans would have heightened expectations following a poor World Cup qualifying campaign, where they scraped through in second place.

"The KFA suggested a longer period and better conditions, but I declined it," he revealed.

"I think I should be sacked if I don't get good results; two years is what I wanted. I wanted to get motivated.

"Fans will want certain results, I don't have to say it myself. But I have to spend time with the players first, then I can have more concrete goals and targets.

"We have to admit that fans are demanding more now. We should target to cut it at the world level, not just Asia. Basically, I want to see compact football.

"Korean players have great team spirit and know how to sacrifice for the team. I think I can form a good strategy with this virtue.

"I want to see Korea show consistent performance against top teams. In order to do that, we need strong will from the players and good coaching from me and coaches."