South Korea boss Paulo Bento says he was happy with many aspects of his side’s 2-0 victory over Costa Rica, as the Portuguese looks to install a new philosophy with the East Asian team.
Bento enjoyed a positive debut on the Korean bench in front of a sell-out crowd at Goyang Stadium, with goals from Lee Jae-Sung and Nam Tae-Hee enough to beat the Central American visitors in a friendly match on Friday evening.
"It's always happy when you win," Bento told the media after the game. "I'm especially satisfied because it's a victory that showed our players' talent and quality. I also liked how we played the game, and how we created good moments.”
The team was praised for its incisive counter attack, but Bento was keen to emphasise that he expects his side to take the initiative in games, as he looks to implement his ideas. "Our goal was to dominate the match for 90 minutes," he said. "Our defence was good and our transition from defence to offense was good. The players executed well and did what they were ordered to do."
Bento, who employed a 4-2-3-1 formation against Costa Rica, has already made headlines during his six weeks in the job, switching the captaincy from Ki Sung-Yueng who has skippered the side in recent years, and awarding the armband to Son Hueng-Min. It was a decision Bento says was made after deliberation.
"First of all, we played a good game as a team in a new phase," he said. "I can't tell in detail how we decided to choose Son as captain because that's our internal issue, but we had enough talks. Will Ki stay with the national team? There's no doubt about that."
Bento, who was hired on August 17, has already stated that he intends for South Korea to be more assertive, including when they encounter the more established teams. “I want to see us possess the ball and control the game against good opponents. I want to see my football philosophy displayed on the pitch.
"They are eager to learn and understand quickly. The players are also great at understanding situations in the game."
Such tactics will face a stern test during South Korea’s next game, with Bento’s men hosting Chile on Tuesday in Suwon.
by Sean Gillen