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KT Rolster coach on final regular season match against SKT: “We had a lot on the line in the last match, but we couldn’t get over the pressure.”

KT Rolster coach Lee Ji-Hoon says pressure matters when playing SK Telecom T1.
KT Rolster coach Lee Ji-Hoon says pressure matters when playing SK Telecom T1.

KT Rolster coach Lee Ji-hoon said the amount of pressure on his team the last time it played SK Telecom T1 played a role in losing.

KT will play SKT once more, this time in the semifinals of the League Champions Korea summer playoffs. KT Rolster is 0-5 this season against its rival, and in an interview with Daily eSports’ Nam yoon-sung, Lee said the most recent loss to SKT came in part from an incredible amount of pressure.

“We had a lot on the line in the last match, and we couldn’t get over the pressure,” he said. “In order to make it to worlds with just our performance in the regular season, we needed to beat Longzhu and SKT back-t0-back, but I think the team got more nervous at the idea of how close we were to achieving our goal after we beat Longzhu. It was actually mentally comfortable in a way after losing to SKT. Since we still have a chance, we’re preparing without thinking too much about it.”

As KT defeated Longzhu on Aug. 1, the team was one win away from clinching first place and a spot in the LCK finals. If KT had defeated SKT on Aug. 3, KT would have clinched a spot at the League of Legends World Championship by having the most possible championship points outside the summer champion. But SKT won 2-1, setting the stage for another rematch.

Lee said KT’s struggles against SKT might stem from something within rather than mechanical or technical prowess.

“We did lose to them in the spring finals 3-0, but there were many games where we could have won in the regular season of both the spring and summer,” he said. “I thought that the loss gave us a good learning experience, but we lost to them both times 2-1 in the summer as well. We evaluated internally that it was because we made too many mistakes, which led to our self-destruction. We know what to do in theory, but I think the team has a hard time reacting when things don’t go the way we expect them to in-game.”

As SKT has defeated the Afreeca Freecs and Samsung Galaxy so far in the playoffs, and Lee said that it was rather disappointing that no team was able to force SKT to show what it has planned to surprise the competition.

“I expected SKT to win, but it was disappointing (that they swept all of their matches,)” he said. “SKT would have potentially shown its final hand if they played many games or had their backs against the wall, but they get this far while not showing anything.”

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