Hwang Hee-chan came on as a substitute in the Premier League opener. On the flanks, he added liveliness to the Wolverhampton attack. He also threatened in the final minutes, but was denied by the Manchester United defense.

Wolverhampton lost 0-1 to Manchester United in the first leg of the 2023/24 English Premier League season at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, on Friday (Sept. 15).

Wolverhampton have changed managers this season. On October 10, Gary O’Neill was handed the reins, signaling a fresh start. His predecessor, Julen Lopetegui, was unhappy with the transfer market and parted ways with the team due to disagreements. Players who had been an integral part of the team for some time, such as Leo Neves and Raúl Jiménez, departed and new signings were not forthcoming.

In fact, just before the start of the Premier League, Wolverhampton announced, “We have agreed to part ways with Lopetegui. He has led the team for nine months, but it is over. Lopetegui took over at Wolverhampton in November of last year and helped the club stay in the Premier League, but he and the club had disagreements over certain issues. It has been agreed that it is in everyone’s best interest to end the contract amicably,” the club said in a statement.

Lopetegui added: “I wish Wolverhampton and everyone at the club the best of luck. I am grateful for the opportunity to manage such a great club. It has been an honor to enjoy this adventure with everyone at Wolverhampton. I would like to thank them for their great support and help every step of the way. I would like to thank the players, coaching staff and fans for always giving their all to achieve the club’s goals,” he said in his final farewell.

Hwang Hee-Chan had a pretty good performance in the preseason friendly. He started the Premier League opener as a substitute on the bench. Wolverhampton started Mateusz Cunha, Pablo Sarabia, and Pedro Neto in front of the Manchester United goal.

The game was tightly contested. Manchester United pressed forward and controlled Wolverhampton’s buildup in the back. Wolverhampton had their chances as they kept the United attack at bay. Midway through the first half, Cunha found himself near the penalty box after a fluid dribble. Cunha crossed the ball to Sarabia. Sarabia saw the opposite goal and tried to shoot, but the Baran defense was unable to rattle the net.

With momentum in their favor, Wolverhampton made another move centered on Cunha. In the 32nd minute, he exchanged one-two passes and found himself inside the United box. Again, he faced the opposite goal from United and fired a shot that went just wide. In first-half stoppage time, a momentary lapse by Wolverhampton allowed a counter-attack, but the physical defense cleared the danger.

Wolverhampton took off Sarabia in the 17th minute of the second half and brought on Hwang Hee-chan to try and spark the offense. Manchester United also made changes with Jadon Sancho and Christian Eriksen. Hwang came from the flanks to the center to set up a ball contest. Wolverhampton then tried a corner set-piece, but it was fruitless. On the counter-attack, Hwang opted to go short rather than shoot. However, his teammate’s poor finish left him with only a shot on target.

Wolverhampton had a number of pretty threatening attacks against Manchester United. However, they were unable to find the back of the net. Manchester United didn’t miss a beat. Bruno Fernandes played a roving pass that broke down the defense in one fell swoop and found Wan-Bissaka, who stepped up to the penalty box area and finished with a header.

Manchester United rattled Wolverhampton on the counter-attack after surviving a scare. Bruno Fernandes put the ball into the box and Rashford got a foot on it to head home. Wolverhampton attacked in the same pattern down the right flank, with Hwang Hee-chan rushing in from the other side. They brought on Sasha Kalajic in the dying minutes of the second half as they pushed for an equalizer.

In stoppage time, Hwang Hee-chan sent a chill down Manchester United’s spine as he won the ball on the left flank and made a bold run into the box before firing a shot at the far post. However, his shot was deflected by a tackle from Wan-Bissaka. Had the shot taken the course that Hwang attempted, Onana would have been in trouble, as would Sindlin, who made the save.

Wolverhampton continued to create chances in the box, but they fell one short. Hwang Hee-chan’s header went just wide again. There was a penalty awarded, but it wasn’t given. The game ended with a win for Manchester United.

Hwang came on as a substitute but was well-received after the game. Soccer statistics outlet Couch Score gave him a 7.2 rating. Birmingham Live in the UK gave Hwang a 6.5 rating and said, “The substitute came on and changed Wolverhampton’s tactics. Nunes moved to the center. Hwang played on the flanks. He was ambitious and struggled to score.”

Hwang had four shots on goal and no shots on target against Manchester United. He had 25 touches of the ball and a passing success rate of 86% (14 pass attempts, 12 successful passes). He also had one successful dribble, two fouls, one successful cross, one successful long pass, and a 100% success rate in ground battles (3 attempts, 3 successful). He only played 27 minutes as a substitute, but he was active.

O’Neill said: “There were some points against Manchester United. I worked hard in the center and tried to create chances. The players carried out my orders well. They were all good and created chances. We just needed to find a way to score and we didn’t.”

Hwang Hee-chan made his European debut in 2014 when he moved to Austria. There was a lot of talk when he joined Salzburg, but he persevered and competed against European players. He fought his way into the starting lineup, but there were moments when it wasn’t easy. In order to get more playing time, he went on loan to German team Hamburg to hone his skills.

Upon his return from his one-year loan in Hamburg, he became an integral part of Salzburg’s core, soon forming a trio with Ehling Holland and Takumi Minamido as they dominated the UEFA Champions League. He stunned soccer fans around the world with an incredible performance against Liverpool.

After a stunning performance in the Champions League, clubs from the next level beckoned. Salzburg’s success led to a move to Leipzig, a Bundesliga team that shared the same philosophy. At the time, he had no trouble adjusting, as his ‘mentor’ Jesse March took over from Julian Nagelsmann.

The environmental requirements were positive, but the soccer was not always easy. He experienced the Bundesliga with Hamburg, but it wasn’t a perfect fit for Hwang. He didn’t get enough playing time in Leipzig, and after only 29 games, he was sent on loan to Wolverhampton.

It was a sudden move to the Premier League. It’s one of Europe’s top three leagues, but it’s a much tougher competition than the Bundesliga, so there was not a lot of love for Hwang. However, Hwang defied expectations and turned things around. He scored a goal on his debut for Wolverhampton and gradually cemented his place in the starting lineup.

Public opinion in England improved, and Wolverhampton were happy with him. His high energy and aggressive style of play was a perfect fit for the Premier League. After a season on loan, Wolverhampton decided to buy him outright and treat him as a regular in the team.

While Hwang was expected to fill a key role in his debut season with Wolverhampton, the 2022-23 season was not without its challenges. Wolverhampton’s form dropped and Hwang’s playing time fluctuated between substitutions and starts. With Leeds United manager Jesse March having made a bid for him during the transfer window, it was a moment when he could have considered another challenge.

However, Hwang decided to continue his challenge at Wolverhampton. A hamstring injury in the middle of the first half of the season could have caused him psychological distress, but he turned things around at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He scored the winning goal against Portugal in the final group game to help South Korea advance to the round of 16. He returned to Wolverhampton full of confidence, and the appointment of Julen Lopetegui as manager had brought a fresh breeze.

Hwang Hee-chan gradually earned his place in the starting lineup with Lopetegui’s trust, and even changed his diet in an attempt to reduce his hamstring injury. His form improved in the vastly different playing time he received in the first half, and he roared back with goals against Newcastle United, Brantford and Everton in the second half.

Just when he thought he had finished his second season at Wolverhampton on a high note, he was unexpectedly linked with a move away. “Wolverhampton are considering selling Hwang Hee-chan to resolve their Financial Fair Play (FFP) issues,” according to local English media outlet MOT Leeds News. Frequent injuries have been a problem for Hwang. He may be looking for a new challenge outside of England.” 메이저놀이터

The Express used the phrase “poor player this year” to describe Hwang’s departure. While being linked to Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, and Newcastle United is a positive, it’s a bittersweet moment for Hwang, given the trust Lopetegui has in him and his performance in the second half of the season.

Hwang has always been a player who can turn a crisis into an opportunity. After the 2022-23 season, he decided to come to Korea to recharge his batteries. The following season, he tried new training methods to further reduce his hamstring injury. In June, he was called up to the South Korean national team, where he impressed and prepared for the preseason.

The team was scheduled to start the preseason in South Korea, but an unexpected cancellation forced them to travel to Europe. “I could have done a better job in Korea,” he said, and spent the preseason trying to get fit.

Wolverhampton played four friendlies to test the waters. They played Porto (1-0 win), Celtic (1-1 draw), Luton Town (0-0 draw), and Stade Rennes (3-1 win), winning two and drawing two. Hwang missed the game against Porto, but came on against Celtic.

Against Stade Rennes, he scored a goal. He watched his teammates from the bench in the second half before coming on as a left winger. He was as lively as he was against Manchester United on the opening day of the Premier League, taking a pass from Mateusz Nunes and finishing with a precise left-footed shot into the right corner of the net.

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