Australian international Adam Taggart has apologised to Suwon Bluewings fans for sitting in the stands for the second half of their 2-2 draw with Gangwon on Saturday.
The Socceroos striker finished the 2019 K League season as top scorer with 20 goals but has failed to find the target so far this season as Suwon slip towards the relegation places.
Subbed off at half-time by under-pressure boss Lee Lim-saeng, the 27-year-old made headlines in the South Korean media as he watched the second half from the empty stands at Suwon World Cup Stadium, an action that was interpreted by some as showing displeasure at the substitution.
This was not the case according to the player.
“I want to apologise to fans for my wrong action in sitting in the stands in the second half of the last game,” Taggart said in a message written in Korean on social media.
“In Australia, it is no problem to shower then sit in the stands if you are taken off at half-time but I didn’t know that it was different in Korea and I made a mistake. I didn’t mean any disrespect.”
Reaction seemed to be mixed among Suwon fans with some criticism of Taggart’s action but plenty of concern that coach Lee, who said after the game that he replaced the Australian for tactical reasons, seems unable to get the best out of the top striker in the league last season.
Taggart, who is being monitored by big-spending Chinese and Middle Eastern clubs, has been hauled off in five of the six games so far this campaign and came on in the second half in the other.
Suwon, with just a single victory, are currently in 10th place in the 12-team league and facing a relegation battle.
“We are going through a difficult time at the moment and we are trying to do our best to get back to winning ways,” Taggart added. “I love and respect Suwon fans.”
The Australian watched as Kim Min-woo’s late strike against Gangwon gave Suwon a much-needed point.
Kim believes that Taggart just needs a goal.
“His goalscoring instinct is there in training and it just seems like he is feeling the pressure a little mentally,” Kim said.
“If he scores just one then that burden will lift and Taggart will be back to his old self.”