Mallorca manager blames Lee Kang-in, Korean fans for 1-0 loss
Mallorca manager Javier Aguirre blamed star midfielder Lee Kang-in and Koreans fans in general for his side’s 1-0 loss to Real Betis on Sunday, claiming that La Liga has scheduled the games unfairly to try and appeal to Asian fans.
“I am very grateful to La Liga for putting games on for us at 2 pm with this sun,” Aguirre joked in Spanish after Sunday’s game, before suggesting that the schedule had been set specifically because he had a Korean player on the team.
“I hope that in Korea people turn off the TV and stop watching Lee Kang-in. This situation is screwed. It’s complicated: I understand that the money for my salary and my players’ salary, or at least part of it, comes from there, but I expect La Liga to show a little more sensitivity.”
Aguirre’s comments came after Mallorca lost 1-0 to Real Betis, conceding a goal early in the second half to Borja Iglesias.
Mallorca currently sit in 11th place on the La Liga table with just one win over the last five games, while Real Betis are fifth with three wins and two draws over the same stretch.
Despite Aguirre’s attempts to pin the loss and his La Liga scheduling concerns on Lee’s shoulders, the young Korean midfielder remains a key part of the Mallorca lineup.
He played the full 90 minutes on Sunday and scored a crucial equalizer a week earlier in a game against Real Sociedad.
Aquirre’s comments are also likely to cause him some problems in the clubhouse. Despite his personal opinions of his스포츠토토, the club has been working hard to court Korean fans in recent months, launching an official Korean-language Twitter page in December last year filled with Lee content.
The launch of the account comes as 21-year-old Lee, a fan favorite in Korea since he was only six-years-old, has become an increasingly important figure for both the Mallorca and Korean national team this season. Tottenham Hotspur, home of talismanic Korean captain Son Heung-min, operates a similar Korean-language Twitter account.
Lee joined Mallorca in 2021 after a decade in Valencia and has been having a particularly good season, scoring two goals and picking up three assists so far and earning a player of the month nomination along the way.
Lee has established himself an especially effective playmaker, using fancy footwork to beat defenders and his impressive accuracy to get the ball up to the front.
That skill was on display in Qatar, where he very quickly made a name for himself, appearing in all four games and making a mark in his World Cup debut against Uruguay, when Lee and Cho Gue-sung came on as late substitutes and immediately breathed new life into a flagging team.
Against Ghana, Lee came on in the 57th minute and within less than a minute he had driven a beautiful cross into the box for Cho to head home.
That cross raised Lee’s profile significantly and during the January transfer window he was linked to a number of major European clubs — suggesting that if Aguirre doesn’t want him, somebody else certainly will.
In the meantime, Lee is headed back to Korea this week after being called up to the national team for the international break.