Coach Thomas Tuchel paid tribute to the “great heart” of Park Joo-ho after the Korean defender produced a winning goal on his full Borussia Dortmund debut in a 2-1 Europa League triumph over Krasnodar.
Park scored with a diving header in stoppage time to extended Dortmund’s 100 per cent start to the season, just as it looked as though their Russian opponents had done enough to leave Signal Iduna Park with a draw.
Tuchel heaped praise on Park, who he previously managed during his spell in charge of Mainz.
“I know Park Joo-ho and I know that you can rely on him 100 per cent,” said Tuchel. “It was not easy for him – new team, new surroundings, various positions, half spaces. It took him a while to find his flow, but he worked through it. This bears witness to his great heart.
“Park had to fight some cramps during the game, so it’s impressive that he went for the winner in the final minutes.”
Tuchel admitted his side weren’t at their best throughout a contest that Krasnodar dominated at times, saying: “The grip was not completely there.
“It took a long time to find our way into the game. I thought our passing and body language looked sloppy.
“We needed time to get used to new personnel and positions. We had a few defensive mishaps and overlooked some spaces offensively.”
He added: “If you saw how we played in the cup and the qualification games you cannot assume that we take the Europa League lightly.”
There was praise also for Manchester United loanee Adnan Januzaj, whose full Dortmund debut saw him involved in much of the home side’s best play.
“He has done well,” said Tuchel. “Very engaged, very hard-working. Adnan is on a good path.”