By Michael Church
(Reuters) – Juergen Klinsmann has defended his underwhelming start to life as South Korea coach with the German yet to win any of his four games in charge since taking over from Paulo Bento.
Klinsmann was appointed in February and his team have drawn twice and lost twice as the Koreans look to build on their run to the knockout rounds of last year’s World Cup under his Portuguese predecessor.
An opening draw with Colombia was followed by losses against Uruguay and Peru while Klinsmann’s side were held to a 1-1 draw by El Salvador on Tuesday in their most recent international.
“I hope I can correct that as quickly as possible because we absolutely believe we should have won all four games,” Klinsmann told a press conference in Seoul on Thursday.
“Not only one or two, in all four we were the better team and played impressive football, especially when you look at the Colombian first half, if you look at the second half against Uruguay and then the two games with Peru and El Salvador.
“We were clearly the better team, had so many chances. But the chances didn’t go in. We have to put them in the next time and we will work on that.”
Klinsmann was appointed three years after his last stint as a coach ended in disappointment with Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin and his hiring by the Korea Football Association came as a surprise.
The 58-year-old former striker admitted he and his coaching team were still coming to terms with their new environment as they attempt to develop their squad in the build up to January’s Asian Cup finals in Qatar.
“It’s a learning curve for us coaches and we’ve learned a lot in the last three months,” he said. “We keep learning how the KFA works, how this federation functions.
“At the same time we have other challenges. We have the Asian Cup, which is international. We have to think about the opponents.
“It’s a wonderful project but a lot of work.”
(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
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