After finishing today’s training match-Team Manager Finke  

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

I was really keen on the idea of having a training match today. This is because as there are many players in the team, I wanted to give those players who could not play in the yesterday’s training match a chance to have some experience before the J-League opening match. As this was the case, I asked for the opportunity to have a training match today. For this reason, it was a very important match for me as well. Today’s match was mainly played by young players. As I had expected there were some occasions that players made some mistakes as they are young and luck in experience. Unfortunately, the team lost as many as three goals. This was nothing to do with their potential but rather to do with lack of experience. This highlighted the fact that they need to have more experience. I am not happy with today’s result. However, I am happy that we had the opportunity around this time and that many young players were able to play in the match today.
(What about the score?)
As far as I remember, our team scored two goals today. They created many opportunities to score goals during the second half and I would like to praise the young players in that regard. They were able to create many chances by having good moves. At the same time, I would like to commend the goal keeper of the opponent team. This is because he had several excellent moves and managed to crash our opportunities to score goals.
Basically, I am not allowed to make detailed comments about today’s match. It is also difficult to assess part of today’s match. But, as I said earlier, as the purpose of today’s match was to provide those players who did not play in the yesterday’s match the chance to have some more match experiences, having the opportunity to have another match at this timing was really good. Though I do not intend to make any individual comment on each performance, I think that the team played relatively well as a whole.
(Major players played yesterday and players who are not necessarily regarded as major players played today. Yet, the match was still not open to the media. What was the intention of this?)
I do not have a specific strategic reason for having today’s match private. But, to be frank with you, if you say that yesterday’s players were the major ones then why are all the journalists who are here today? I wonder why this is the case (lol). This may be a diplomatic comment, but all I can say is that today’s match was held in private because we discussed many things and we took my personal as well as team’s preferences into considerations.
(You made the comment that the team should lose at least once during the preparation period in the past. What do you say about that?)
As for the result, I am not too upset by that.

(Are you planning to have another training match before the opening of the J-League?)
No, we do not have such plans.
(Yesterday, you said that players often play before a match to warm up their bodies. Did the team play for a while today? Are you also planning to do the same during the season?)
We did not have a warm up today. But, we will definitely have warm ups during the season. Regardless whether or not the team is playing at the home stadium or away, having a warm up as part of the match day program is a common practice in the current soccer sphere. A decade ago, entire team members got together in the morning of a match day and took a walk together. But, nowadays players have a little training for thirty to forty minutes rather than having a walk. It is important for players to get up a sweat once more. Depending on the situation, we certainly use balls some times. But, it really depends on the condition and the situation of the stadium on a match day.

(Did you talk directly with Takahara about the traffic accident?)
Takahara came to my office this morning and we discussed many things in regards to the accident. I certainly wanted to get and exchange information. I asked him about how the accident happened and how he drove his car. I also asked him how the biker (injured person) is currently. What I was concerned the most was if the biker was going to have any after-effects in the future. This is of course a difficult case for Takahara. Based on what I heard from him, it was not like he was violating traffic rules. It was rather a combination of unfortunate events happened one after another. What is most important here is that we know at this point that the injured biker is not going to have any after-effects. It is very unfortunate that the biker was injured in the accident and I pray for the person’s quick recovery. At the same time, as I think about the mental aspect of players, it is important for me to know how Takahara feels about this situation and what he thinks about this accident. For this reason, I talked with him for some time. But, I do not want to make any further comment at this point.

(Taking Takahara’s psychological aspect into consideration, can he continue his training till the opening of the J-League?)
Yes, of course, he can.

(What is your opinion about players driving their car after they played in a match when they are exhausted?)
As a general rule, I do not think it is a good idea for a heavily injured player to drive his car. However, when players are not seriously injured or did not play in an official match under extremely high pressure or a match that boosts adrenaline levels of players such as playing in fear of demotion, I do not think there will be any problems for players to drive home just like Takahara did this time. First of all, players do not drive home right after a match. They will cool down themselves and then provide care for their bodies. They also change their uniforms as was the case this time. When players play at an away ground, they will be brought back to our home stadium by bus. Then, finally, players will drive back to their home. For this reason, there is no way that they drive under agitation or stimulation. As such, I do not see any problem for players to drive their cars after a match.

(The Japan Sumo Association totally bans sumo wrestlers to drive cars for example. What do you think about this?)
I think it would be difficult for players to drive rationally when they are just demoted or win a victory in a championship. This is because they are emotionally charged. In some cases, they may be in a confused state. However, after a training match just like we had this time or usual matches, players go through the process of cooling down, body care and coming back to the home ground by bus. So, there will be some time before they drive a car. When such is the case, I do not see any problems for any sports player to drive a car. As I do not have any information as to why the Japan Sumo Association has such a rule, I do not understand why. But, there must have been some kind of reason in the past that necessitates the Association to have such a rule. It is important to see our society as a whole rather than just to think about this in a sports world context. For example, we are going through the world economic crisis at the moment. In this situation, there are people who have lost their job. But, do you wonder whether those who lost their job should drive their car? I do understand that sports players are well known figures and are covered in newspaper articles and so on. But, people do drive their cars under extreme pressures in society generally. For this reason, rather than comparing our situation to the sumo sphere case, it is possible to compare our situation with other business sectors. I do not think there is any rule that bans people who have lost their job from driving on the grounds that they are under so much stress.

(What do you think of the Fuji Xerox Super Cup match held yesterday in which the Kashima Antlers won against Gamba Osaka?)
One of our coaching staff went to the stadium to observe the match. I also watched the game we recorded today. Certainly, the Kashima Antlers is a good team. However, Gamba Osaka also had good chances during the first half. So, it would not have been a surprise if Gamba scored a goal first. In regards to the result of 3 to 0, it looks as though it was a sweeping victory for the Antlers. However, I thought that Gamba Osaka also played really well and they seem to have a number of good players. I have no intention of making any further comment on the Antlers, as I still want to check several things about the Antlers by examining the recorded footage. But, I want to say one thing and that is it was not just by chance that they had a good result last year and the year before last year. I was able to confirm this by watching the game.

(What are you planning to do during the next one week leading to the opening of the J-League in terms of consolidating the team?)
We will play in this season in a different way from the previous year. For a system to change, it will take some time. It will be difficult for players to understand everything within the next few days. But, I believe that players have already learned and gained many things and they are moving into the right direction. Regardless of the opening of the J-League, we will have regular training under the new system and by doing so I am hoping to enhance the understanding of the players about soccer tactics. I think it is necessary for the team to have many different types of training such as what to do when having the ball or how to respond to the opponent player when and in what position he steals the ball.