our Korean speaks about his spectacular return to salzburg, regaining confidence and the most important match of his career so far.
You have 9 goals and 14 assists in 20 matches in all competitions this season. How can you explain your explosion in form?
I just feel extremely happy here in Salzburg. The coach placed his full faith in me after I returned from Germany, and the whole club have given me fantastic support. Thanks to this appreciation, I've been able to get my confidence back and improve myself as a footballer. It is so much fun to play here for this wonderful club - I am grateful for that every day.
This all came after a difficult year out on loan at HSV. Did this adventure still help to develop you?
I learned a few new things about football at HSV, but even more important was my personal development. I learned that things aren't always easy in life and that you have to battle for success. All the same I was really pleased to be able to return to Salzburg, as Hamburg was just too big and too loud for me. I enjoy the peace and quiet here, as I can concentrate fully on football. Jesse Marsch has a big part to play in it too, of course. I had a good feeling as soon as we spoke for the first time and wanted to just give my all - for him and for Salzburg.
After five Champions League group stage matches, we now have a play-off for a spot in the last 16 with Liverpool. Would you ever have dreamed of this, and what is the significance of the match for you personally?
It is the biggest match of my career, and a huge highlight for every player, every member of staff and every fan of our club, I think. We played well in the group stage, we've had some perfect performances and some less so - at times the luck just hasn't been there. The important thing though is that we can excite people with our football and that we have deserved a chance to progress. We will give everything we can again to beat this great Liverpool team and get the chance to stay in the Champions League in the spring.
We were so close to getting a sensational result in Liverpool. What do the team need to do to go one better this time?
We have the advantage of playing at home - here we are very difficult opponents for anyone in the UEFA Champions League, I think. Liverpool are under pressure now too, as they can't afford to lose the match. We can't forget in the slightest that they are the defending champions, and one of the best teams in Europe. That gives us all additional motivation though, and we will give everything to succeed!
You managed to see off Virgil van Dijk a few times in the first leg and got plenty of praise on the internet. How was it to play against the highest profile defender in the world?
It's an extraordinary thing, of course, to play against a world-class player, and to be able to pull off a few things against them makes it even better. I always try to give my best, whether it's in Liverpool or in Mattersburg. I would have loved to have won the match at Anfield, then the evening would have been perfect.
We heard that you don't watch too much football at home...
[Laughs] Yeah, that's right. I live here in Salzburg together with my mother and sister, and we often watch Korean series on the TV. I watch football in our analysis sessions and on away trips though.
Thank you for the interview!