(Reuters) - South Korea women's coach Colin Bell said his players were not fit enough to compete with the world's best after they were thrashed 6-0 by the United States as part of their preparations for January's Asian Cup.
The heavy defeat came four days after the Koreans had held the United States to a 0-0 draw, breaking the Americans' run of 22 straight home wins, and Bell highlighted the need for more squad depth.
"We are not fit enough for absolutely world class. The Americans are world class in every department," said Englishman Bell.
"Within our squad, we have different levels of fitness and experience. It's not as though I can make seven changes from one game to the next.
"That's not possible at the moment but that's the standard we need to reach."
The Koreans conceded four goals with 20 minutes left on the clock, with three of those coming in the last five minutes plus stoppage time.
"In the later stage when the concentration level has gone, the fitness level has dropped and fatigue has set in, then it's very, very difficult to stop (opponents)," he said.
The Women's Asian Cup will be played in India from Jan. 20 to Feb. 6 with the Koreans looking to win the title for the first time. The draw for the finals will be held on Thursday.
"When we're fit, the tactical knowledge that players have and their ability on the ball, that's not the problem," Bell said.
"The most important thing is when you compete in that higher level, you need consistency. To be able to perform at the levels you can, that's only possible with an extreme fitness level."
(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Peter Rutherford)