Jeonbuk ‘lowest-ranked’ in 15 years…Petrescu says ‘painful season’ for coach

Professional soccer K League 1 Jeonbuk Hyundai head coach Dan Petrescu did not hide his disappointment after the team lost the final match of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 and finished fourth.

Jeonbuk lost 0-1 to defending champions Ulsan Hyundai on Wednesday in the 38th round of the K League 1 Final A at Munsu Stadium in Ulsan, South Korea.

With the loss, Jeonbuk ended the season with 57 points, finishing the year in fourth place behind Ulsan (76 points), Pohang Steelers (64 points), and Gwangju FC (59 points).

It’s been 15 years since Jeonbuk finished fourth in the K League since 2008.

From 2009 through last season, Jeonbuk hadn’t finished lower than third in 14 seasons, with nine wins, three runner-up finishes, and two third-place finishes.

However, Jeonbuk has been in a slump since the beginning of this season, falling to 10th place in May and culminating in the voluntary resignation of coach Kim Sang-sik.

In June, Jeonbuk hired Romanian coach Petrescu as a “firefighter” to save the day.

After Petrescu’s appointment, Jeonbuk climbed to third place in August and briefly held rosy hopes of an upset victory, but that was the limit.

After bouncing between fourth and sixth place, Jeonbuk eventually finished the season in fourth place, losing to Ulsan in the final game.

“I’m sorry we didn’t win today,” Petrescu said at the post-match press conference, “we had a hard time with the penalty not being called and the injury to Hong Jung-ho.”

“We worked hard in the second half, but we couldn’t find a solution up front. Ulsan defended well,” he said. “A win today would have given us third place and qualified us for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League Elite (ACLE) playoffs. We will use today’s disappointment as a springboard to work harder next season.”

“When I first took charge of the team, there were a lot of problems, including injuries and transfer variables,” said Petrescu, reflecting on his six months in charge. “I didn’t get everything I wanted, but I tried to get the best out of the situation I was given.” 슬롯

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