AL AIN, United Arab Emirates (Reuters) – The arrival of Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min for South Korea’s Asian Cup campaign will not change their approach to a tournament in which they have reached the last 16 knockout round, coach Paulo Bento has said.
The Koreans laboured to a 1-0 win over debutants Kyrgyzstan on Friday, having beaten the Philippines by the same scoreline in their opening match at the continental championship, as they failed to turn their domination into goals.
But with 26-year-old Son due to join up with the squad on Monday after Spurs’ Premier League game against Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday, the former Portugal coach expects his team’s overall game to improve.
“We are not going to change our way of playing when we have Son Heung-min with us,” said Bento.
“What I think we are going to do is improve our collective game, try to attack better than we have played until now and, of course, a player with the quality that Son has and, in the moment (form) that he has at this moment, can help the team.
“But we need to wait until the game against China or the knockout phase.”
Son is due to arrive in the United Arab Emirates on Monday but, with the Koreans due to face China on Wednesday, Bento is yet to decide whether the winger will feature in a game that will decide who takes first place in the group.
“Son is going to arrive on January 14, so after he arrives we will see what we are going to do in the game against China,” said Bento referring to their final Group C match on Wednesday with both team settign the pace on six points.
“We will talk and then we are going to take the best decisions for the team.
“So we need to wait for the game that he is probably going to play on Sunday (for Tottenham) and then check everything he has made in the last months, because he has played a lot of games during the last months.”
(Editing by Ken Ferris)