Klinsmann accepts criticism as part of job

Jurgen Klinsmann, the much-maligned head coach of the South Korean men's national football team, sees public criticism against him as part of the job.

The former German striker has been taking shots from left and right over the first few months as the bench boss for the Taegeuk Warriors. For one, there's the performance side, as South Korea have gone winless in Klinsmann's first four matches, with two draws and two losses.

Then there is another element, with Klinsmann having spent more time in his U.S. home than in South Korea, despite pledging at the start of his tenure that he would live in South Korea to learn about the new country and its culture as quickly as possible. Klinsmann has been checking on Europe-based stars, who are already well established internationally and don't have to worry about their spots on the national team, while his assistants have been traveling around South Korea to scout domestic K League players.

If South Korea had won a few times, where Klinsmann does his work from wouldn't have caused so much of a stir. Klinsmann will take his fifth crack at a win this week against Wales in Cardiff.

At his prematch press conference in the Welsh capital on Wednesday (local time), Klinsmann said the mounting criticism about his team and the way he runs it hasn't affected him at all.

"You can win all four games in the beginning, and there will still be criticism, maybe (about) the way you play, the way you sub," he said. "That's part of your job. You have to live with criticism every day. Probably 80 percent of your paycheck (covers that) everybody is allowed to tell you what to do. That doesn't bother me at all."

Klinsmann instead said he has had "a wonderful experience so far" coaching South Korea.

"I see a team that brings so much quality, step by step," he said. "I think we did quite well in the first four games. We didn't get the results, but I was pleased with the way the team showed up and dominated all four games."

Klinsmann also reiterated his longer-term goal of winning the 2024 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup, which kicks off in Qatar in January. South Korea, despite being an Asian football powerhouse for decades, last won the AFC title in 1960.

"I want to see the progress happening with every game. I want to win, absolutely, but the must-win comes in Qatar," Klinsmann said. "I see a team here that's extremely hungry to do well in Qatar and go for the Asian Cup. This is the main goal."

Klinsmann added that his players and staff have told him how brutal social media can be in South Korea, and he asked his detractors to withhold their judgment until the Asian Cup.

"I know exactly what we're doing and what we're trying to build," he said. "The real benchmark comes in January, once we start the tournament in Qatar."

Source: Yonhap News Agency