Korea DPR has had plenty of advice from its Supreme Leader, but striker Pak Kwang-ryong says his side can also learn from European football.
13 Jan 2015 - 8:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Jan 2015 - 11:16 PM

The team has dodged media interest in the run-up to the tournament, arriving last in Australia and avoiding non-mandatory press opportunities.

So when the team allowed Pak - one of just four North Koreans playing outside of the Democratic People's Republic - to speak ahead of its second Asian Cup match with Saudi Arabia in Melbourne on Wednesday night, it was enlightening.

Pak plays his club football in Switzerland with UEFA Champions League regular FC Basel and has been loaned to smaller sides as he develops.

The 22-year-old said, after working in a professional European league, he hoped to share his experiences with the team.

"I am learning the European style of football ... regarded as a better one than Asia," he said through a translator.

"I see the differences of football in Europe and Asia with my own eyes and what I learn in my club could be a help to our team and our players."

Pak was seen by many as the best on the field in his first Asian Cup match, which Korea DPR lost to Uzbekistan 1-0.

He says his football education came after a tough battle to adapt to the European game.

"When I arrived in Switzerland, everything there was not familiar to me," Pak said.

"Day by day and month by month, I have managed to play ... I did what I could, little by little to overcome the language barrier and also players there became my friends.

"The coach there gave me so much assistance in terms of education of football."

The team can also take advice from Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, a passionate football fan who has weighed in with tips and visited the team during previous camps.

Kim was unable to give the team an inspirational send-off before its departure, but Jo revealed his support extended to football expertise.

"He was giving us invaluable instructions on many things like training and taking care of players," he said through a translator.

"He also gives us very great love. We are very much grateful for that.

"Our footballers in our country were very grateful to see the Leader visit (the national team) and attend football matches. We are very much encouraged and feel deep love."

So far, the encouragement hasn't translated into victory - with an opening round 1-0 loss to Group B top seeds Uzbekistan.

But its match with Saudi Arabia - beaten by China in its first match - in Melbourne on Wednesday gives it a second chance to strengthen its claims to a place in the second round.

"Our first match was not very successful," Jo said. "The Saudi Arabian team's skill is very excellent and we have to prepare better than ever."