After finishing today’s training match - Team Manager Finke  

Comment from Team Manager Volker Finke after finishing today’s training match

In my long career, this is the first time for me to have a press interview after a closed training match. As such, I am not sure as to what I should say (lol).
It was such an important match for us as we will finish our preparation and start the J-League season very soon. Of course, it would have been better if the team could score more goals. But, I am quite happy with the over all content of today’s match. I assume you would like to have some information such as starting lineup members. However, as today’s game was not open to media, I cannot make an elaborate comment. I can say that there were some players who played for sixty or seventy minutes and I believe this provided a good opportunity for them to experience a similar condition as in an official match. I think they were able to make final adjustments during today’s training match.

(Previously, there was a training session in the morning before the team had a training match in the afternoon to put some burden on the players. However, the team had the morning off. What was your intention for today’s match?)
We had a training session in the morning today as well and eighteen players who played in the training match today also had about forty minutes training in the morning. Many clubs around the world have training in the morning before a match. Having a light training session helps to warm up their bodies. For this reason, we did the same thing. Those players who were not the eighteen players who played in today’s practice match had another training program in the morning.

(Even though the name of the players who played in today’s practice match is not released, can we consider that the members will be similar to the starting lineup members for the J-League opening match?)
No, it is not necessarily the case. It is important to consider how players play during training sessions from tomorrow not only how they played in today’s match. I would like to finalize the starting lineup members after I see those training sessions. I also told my players about this. So, I assume that they understand the members who played in the training match today will not necessarily be the starting lineup members for the J-League opening match.
It is often the case that those players who did not get a yellow vest during a morning training session often think that they would not be playing as a starting lineup member. As this is often the case, I explain to players every time that it does not mean that they are not in with the chance. Team is divided into groups differently depending on the types of training and this does not directly lead to the final decision of starting lineup members. Similarly, today’s member selection does not mean that they will be the starting lineup members for the J-League opening match. Based on my experience, seven or eight major players will certainly be playing as starting lineup members in many cases. Having said that, we have many other good players and there are four striker’s positions. These positions should be filled by different players flexibly depending on the opponent team. In my opinion, a total of seven or eight players with different individual qualities are necessary for these four striker’s positions.
It is important to understand that soccer is not an individual sports. I do not want people to misunderstand this point and I tell my players about this. When it is necessary I inform media about this as well. For this reason, I do not believe in the idea of the best eleven players in the team should necessarily go onto the pitch. It is important to see whether or not the team functions as a team and can deliver good outcomes. I always try to choose players who are able to work in this light.
Certainly, it will be ideal if the eleven members chosen for the team were the most capable players in the eyes of neutral observers. But, what is important is to find out which player plays well with which player, who always plays for the entire team etc. For this reason, at the risk of repeating myself, it does not mean that the best eleven players of the club always become the starting line up members every time. To be honest with you, it is quite difficult for team managers to decide the starting lineup members. As you are all well aware, even the team manger of the Spanish national team that won the European Championship did not select Raul Gonzalez of Real Madrid as a starting lineup member in the end. I am sure they of course knew he was a fantastic player. There was a big movement in Spain and people were collecting signatures so that Raul would be going to the European Championship. However, the Spanish team manager did not take him to the European Championship. This was because the team manager made the decision based on his experience that his team would function better without Raul. The team manger brought the victory to the team in the European Championship by making the decision he made. This proved that this method is right for soccer as it is played by a team. But, this is a very difficult decision to make for team managers. As a matter of fact, the team manger of the Spanish national team resigned right after the team won the victory in the European Championship. The reason why I share the story of the Spanish national team today was because I did not know what to talk about, as today’s match was not open to media (lol).

(What was good and what needs to be improved about today’s training match?)
I cannot reveal too many secrets here. But, the team could have scored more goals today. There were several chances during today’s match for the players to be able to score goals. I think we should make more use of such opportunities to score goals. This is one of the points to be improved that I can make a comment on.

(The team played against a J1 team for the first time today. Did you feel anything different from previous games the team played?)
Considering how today’s game went, the team should have scored more goals. There were some points that I felt quite happy about. However, I cannot talk more about that. In regards to the points to be improved, the team did not score as many goals as they should have. It would have been possible for the team to score a lot more goals considering the content of today’s match.