Son Heung-min led the team to a 3-1 victory at home against Bournemouth in the 20th round of the English Premier League (EPL) at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the 31st of last month, along with his 12th goal in the league.
As the team’s top scorer and captain, he proved his unwavering determination by firing a congratulatory speech on the last game of 2023, Korean time, and New Year’s Day. Immediately after the goal, Tottenham fans and experts expressed despair over the absence of Son Heung-min, who has to miss up to a month and six games due to his participation in the Qatar Asian Cup. Concerns grew even more as Pape Sarr and Velez were injured in the match.
However, Son expressed his absolute faith in his teammates ahead of a brief breakup. When he was away, he hoped that his teammates would play a role, and that he would challenge himself toward a higher position with more goals.
His Brazilian teammate Hishalisson, who has regained his form significantly since his recent surgery, has scored five goals in the last five games. He also cheered in the match against Bournemouth by scoring his third goal. Son Heung-min sincerely hoped that his strikers’ teammates, including Hishalisson, Dejan Kulusevski and Brennan Johnson, would score more goals through new opportunities, just as he did when Harry Kane was away.
“I really hope so. Most of all, they are my family and teammates,” Son said. “I hope they score as many goals as possible.”
“When Kane missed a few games due to injury, I think I felt I needed to take a step further over the past few years. I hope our players also feel that we have to take another step forward in this situation. We can grow as both a player and a human being under such circumstances,” Son said. “Hisalisson is playing fantastic, and I hope Kulusevski and Johnson crave more goals. I hope all the players in the offensive position score as many goals as possible so that we can get to a better position,” Son said, stressing that “I hope more than anything else.”
Tottenham, which secured a 3-1 victory at Bournemouth in 2023, is rapidly adapting to manager Ange Postecoglou and displaying aggressive team play this season. They have made tremendous progress in a short period of time.
“There have been a lot of changes 100 percent, but all the players feel a great responsibility. It’s a big achievement compared to the past few years,” Son said. “The players are playing really hard and they are not talking about their current positions or points. That’s a good sign. We are focusing on every game and just want to win every game,” he said. “We also made mistakes and learned that winning 38 Premier League games is very difficult. We will have to focus on ourselves and wait and see what happens,” he said, making it clear that he will not focus on the victory in the remaining games.
How close will Tottenham be to the lead now that they have played 20 out of 38 rounds? “Everyone is very close to winning the title. We still have 20 games left and we don’t want to talk about it now because there are many important players missing,” Son said. “We will focus on ourselves and do our best in each game. We will try to build better soccer and better mental strength, not focus on other teams, and wait and see what happens at the end of the season.”
Meanwhile, Korea`s national team coach Klinsmann, who is aiming for his first win in 64 years at the Qatar Asian Cup, departed for Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, shortly after the kickoff ceremony on Tuesday. “I am going to Qatar with full energy and faith. I will do my best to lift the trophy in front of the public in 64 years. I will meet you again with good results in six weeks,” Klinsmann said at the kickoff ceremony. The headquarters of the team will arrive in Dubai at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday local time and travel to Abu Dhabi by bus. Other overseas players, including Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain), will join the team in the morning, and the team will hold a final warm-up match with Iraq at the Abu Dhabi Stadium in New York University at 10 p.m. on Sunday, before moving to Qatar, the final showdown, where the team will face Bahrain (86th) on Tuesday, Jordan (87th) on Tuesday, and Malaysia (130th) on Wednesday.