Stielike: It’s not time to think about Australia

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South manager expressed his satisfaction with his team’s performance on Saturday following their 1-0 win over Oman in the Asian Cup group stage.

The Taeguk Warriors earned the full three points courtesy of Cho Young-cheol’s lone goal late in the first half.

“I don’t think we played that bad except for the last five minutes,” the German coach said in his post-match conference. “We created a few chances to score, and it was disappointing to miss them. But it’s better to win by a narrow margin than to cruise into a 5-0 win and get all the pressure as a favorite to win the competition.”

Stielike also acknowledged the team’s problems in the victory at Canberra Stadium.

“Our offensive players lost control of the ball when they received passes, which is why our defensive problems are not solely derived from defenders,” he noted. “Players have to remain calm throughout the match to solve this.”

Stielike also discussed the surprising selection of Koo Ja-cheol to the starting lineup after the oft-criticized Mainz midfielder turned in a Man of the Match performance: “I trusted in Koo’s talent and abilities. He has done well in training.”

With Group A rivals Australia also securing a win in their tournament opener against Kuwait, media were quick to quiz Stielike on what could be a climactic showdown in Brisbane on January 17.

“This is not time to think of Australia,” the coach responded. “Our next opponent is Kuwait.

“We have one less day for preparation, which is a big handicap in such a tournament. Our substitutions were all made to replace injured players as well. Their recovery will be key.”