Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

Son Heung-min says fatigue won't be a factor as he bids to lead South Korea to Asian Cup title

Tottenham forward played all 120 minutes in 2-1 win over Bahrain with a quarter-final against Qatar next

Son Heung-min is convinced fatigue will not be a factor as he attempts to lead South Korea to a first Asian Cup crown in almost 60 years.

The Tottenham Hotspur forward, his country’s captain, joined up with the squad in the UAE only last week and has since played almost two full matches: 89 minutes in the final group game against China last Wednesday and then all 120 minutes in Tuesday’s last-16 victory against Bahrain.

South Korea won the Dubai encounter 2-1 in extra time to set up a quarter-final clash with Qatar this Friday. The match would represent Son’s 16th for club or country since the beginning of last month.

However, the 26 year old says he is fit and ready to play what he hopes will be three more games to help South Korea capture a third Asian Cup - and first since 1960. The final takes place in Abu Dhabi on February 1.

“It’s all about mentality, I think,” Son said. “If you think you’re tired … of course after the game I feel tired, but still I try to recover as quick as possible and play again. In three days I can recover. It’s the same when I play with Tottenham as well. I have to recover as quickly as possible and look forward to play.”

Son played a key role against Bahrain at the Rashid Stadium, helping to create South Korea's opening goal. He faded slightly in the second half, though, once the much-fancied Koreans had handed the initiative to their opponents.

Having conceded with only 13 minutes remaining, they rallied to eke out the win.

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Read more on Asian Cup:

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Ismail Matar: Captain confident UAE will show true colours against Australia

John McAuley: Zaccheroni praises UAE's 'strong personality' in reaching quarter-finals

Stephen Nelmes: UAE's Asian Cup away kit incredible, but why is it so hard to find?

Faisal Shah: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed cheers UAE to victory in the home end

Amith Passela: Mat Ryan the shoot-out hero as Australia advance to quarters

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“It was a tough game,” Son said. “We played against a team with so many players in defence and who play counter-attack. It’s not easy. It’s all about attitude as well and I’m a bit unhappy with our performance, as I think we’re better than that.

“We’re looking forward to playing the quarter-final. Of course, it’s going to be a very, very tough game like today. We’re looking forward. We got the result. Sure, the performance was not great, but sometimes you take the result.”

Son was on the end of some harsh treatment from Bahrain, and suffered a small cut to his left ear after been caught with a high boot in the first half.

Yet the Spurs attacker dismissed the idea he had been singled out because if his profile.

“No, in football it’s never being targeted,” Son said. “Sometimes it’s difficult when you face such a team who play with 10 players in defence and you don’t find the space. I don’t worry about this. I have to learn. We should play better than this game.”

Updated: January 23, 2019 08:22 AM

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