After Finishing Today’s Training Match - Team Manager Finke  

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

“Before coming to Ibusuki, we were able to spend a fruitful weekend in Urawa. In fact, we had 2 games and those who did not play in the games also had trainings. Thus I believe that it was a fruitful weekend for the players as well. Most of the players are in good shape without any injuries. This has enabled us to try various players in the 2 training games. I am very satisfied with that. Of course, it was hard both in training content and schedule for the players, because each player had to undergo trainings and play in games for the 2 consecutive days. However, this is part of their job and such an effort will be paid off before starting the season even though some of them might have felt that their lower bodies were heavy lately.”

(Can you comment on Tulio playing in the game?)
“Tulio did training yesterday together with those players who were not playing in the game. There were no problems at all for him to complete the training. I asked him about his knee condition first thing in this morning and he replied “No problems at all”. I also felt that he could play in the game so I listed him in the starting lineup.”

(How was his play?)
“Each player has a different physical condition. Thus I do not want to touch on individual players in public. As for the team, we worked out our training schedule for the success of the opening game. The players are fatigue. Talking about the players who were playing for the national team, they had different training from those players who were training with the club, which means their physical conditions are different. The conditions of national players such as Tatsuya and others in the team are different. It is not easy to compare. The important thing for the national players is to fulfill their trainings for the next 1 or 2 weeks without getting injured. If they can do that, I will be able to have a better understanding of the whole team’s condition. Then I think everyone here can talk about individual players.”

(Why Tsuzuki and Tatsuya did not play in the training match?)
“The 3 national players, Tsuzuki, Tatsuya and Tulio do not need to prove how good they are or how good their skills are now. Key players in the team who play for the national team are an advantage for coaches, because they have to performance to their best while playing for their club and the national team. Taking this into consideration, I want them to be in good condition where they can perform well both for the club and national team by giving them appropriate trainings and challenges. It is difficult, but at the same time interesting. It is not easy to decide when and how to place challenges on the players who also play for Japan and when and how to let them recover. However, as the Team Manager, I will be more than happy to work on this.
This time, Tatsuya and Tsuzuki did not play in the game as part of their recovery exercise. This does not mean that they are injured and were not able to play in the game. I do not think it is good for them to overwork at this point of time so they did not play in the game. As for the club, we are in a difficult situation as the national players left the club for training with the national team for a long period and they were unable to participate in the team training for long spells. It could be said that due to their level of training, they might be physically exhausted. Taking such things into consideration, the physical conditions of the players who have been training with the club and the national players are different.
Especially Tatsuya has a pain at his back and was unable to join the trainings with the national team for some days. I was happy to see him play in the previous game, but at the same time that would have caused more pain to his back. That is why we need to take proper care of him in the club. Now, he is in the phase of getting his body back into good condition. This will allow him to train with the team again.”

(What is your impression of Japan Coach Takeshi Okada?)
“I think we have very good communication. I hope we can continue to exchange opinions in the future.”

(Any wish you told him personally?)
“I worked with many national players for a long time during my time as a coach in the Bundesliga. I also had good communications with various nations’ coaches. It will bring mutual benefit for the national players and the team if the club team coaches and national team coach can discuss and have a good communication through exchanging information. That is why I want to exchange information and opinions by having good communications with the Japan Coach in the future. This time, there was uncertainty whether Tulio would be joining in the national team’s camp or play in the game facing Finland.
That is why Coach Okada and I had various talks and actually Coach Okada called me and checked with me about Tulio’s condition. This gave us an opportunity to exchange opinions for the first time. We agreed to talk various things in the future. Because of this, I believe we were able to have a game like today. I hope that we will be able to have a relationship that brings benefits for both of us by maintaining a close relationship with the Coach in the future as well.”

(Did you bring up any new suggestions?)
“Of course, we talked about football. Actually, Coach Okada stayed in Hamburg for a year and has a friend in Germany. Coincidently I knew the person so we talked about our common friend. Then, of course, we talked about the players in Japan and Urawa players. It is natural to exchange opinions what we think about the players, but I will not be able to name them here.”

(What are the new findings about the players in the training match?”)
“I knew that the 3 Japan players are excellent. However, it is true that there were many players that I want to personally see their play before making any judgment. There are many things that came up in the matches held yesterday and today. What more important is I got to know the players better through various talks and training matches from 12th January. This enables me to ascertain smaller details such as the team’s strong point, players’ good points and their characters. This is extremely important. Preparation for the 2nd training camp and opening game start from now. It was important for me to know each player before, but now I should be able to know who to choose for the opening game through trainings in the next 2 weeks.”

(What do you think of Haraguchi who scored today?)
“He has been one of the best younger players. I am very happy with the fact that he has been performing well and scoring in every match. I am sure that it has been a very good feeling for him having been able to score goals regularly during his first preparation period. However, we must be careful not to let him to be like a shooting star that shines only for a short period of time. He needs to learn a lot of things before being a long lasting shining star. I am also looking forward to seeing him work hard in trainings.”

(How was his performance with Takahara up front?”)
“Please do not speculate too much. Personally, I would like to mix the experienced and younger players well in training matches if allowed. Please understand that I am not using some specific players here. I would not form a team with only the younger players in the first half and only experienced players in the 2nd half. I believe that analyzing the players’ strong points and mixing them will unlock their potentials. Thus it is true that the younger players can learn various things from the experienced players. However, please do not think much about specific players being partnered together. For me, it is not important which specific younger player and experienced player are paired. The important thing is to mix a younger player with an experienced one.”

(What do you think your team could achieve in today’s training match?)
“I think we were able to create 3 or 4 chances in both the 1st and 2nd halves with good build-up plays. Definitely, we need to increase our numbers of chances even more with future trainings. Our players actually proved in several situations in the match that we can achieve our ideal football. As Team Manager, I am not so satisfied with the team’s developing pace or speed. This is because we, coaches demand higher levels of performance from the players and cannot be easily satisfied. This has nothing to do with the players, but it is natural for us coaches not to satisfy simply with the current situation. There will be various requests to the players from me in the camp and I believe that they can do it.”

(What is your decision with regards to substitution?)
“I decided to let the players play for 45 minutes in the first camp. Now, we are closer to the opening game, so they need to be ready for 90 minutes. The players started with 45 minutes and now they are required to play for 65 minutes, however they do a workout before the match and continue to train after the substitution as well. The actual toil on their bodies will be more than they can get for playing 65 minutes. In other words, a longer playing time shows that the opening match is just around the corner.”

(Are there any significant interesting points about Japanese players?)
“If I were a journalist, I would ask a similar question, but I am Team Manager thus I am unable to answer your question in detail. What I realized after coming to Japan is that some information I got back then are right and some are a little bit wrong. In a good way, I was able to find some positive points. In order to improve and develop them further, it is a must to have good attitude and I think our players have it already. Thus I want to make full use of the good points and develop the players even further.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to disclose such positive points now. I want to talk to our players and improve their skills before disclosing to you. To be more specific, one example is the attitude that Japanese have, which I highly respect. It is impossible to change the Japanese attitude and I do not think there is a need to do so. My important challenge is to continue to respect this country’s attitude and stimulate the players’ development as much as possible. We have wonderful energy that is generated from this attitude and potentials. Now the challenge is how much we can enhance each player’s potentials and skills.”