After finishing today’s training-Team Manager Finke  

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

(Have you started tactic training as the team had a 10 on 10 pressing training?)
It is quite possible to interpret it that way. Of course, we have been working on strategies little by little until now. From now, it is the key to work on how the team moves and functions. We will refine to perfection level as a team through these types of training programs and training matches from this time onwards.

(During the pressing training, players with a ball started the training with their balls in their hand.)
That was training for players to learn how to approach various types of situation during the game. For example, when players lose their ball, types of approaches the team should take and in what timing they should start giving pressure change depending on where they lose their ball such as center or side. As such, I decided that the team lost their ball where the player whose name I called was standing. Players then had to figure out how they give pressure as a team and who takes the initial approach. It was training taking real match situations into consideration. It might have seemed as a new type of training. By having more and more of these kinds of training sessions, I believe that the team will be able to improve to perfection level. In Europe, when we have these types of tactic training sessions, they are kept private. I make them open to the public as I would like to be friendly to you all. The club informed me of Japanese protocols and I was also told that training sessions were often open to the public. By showing as much as possible to journalists and supporters, I would like to maintain friendly relationships with you all.

(After finishing the pressing training, players played a half court game. Were you able to recognize the effect of the training?)
I think they are making improvement little by little. Especially how the team approaches when they lose their ball and how players moves around their ball. I can see that they are more actively trying to regain the ball rather than backing off to defense. In this regard, they are making a little progress. I would like to be careful when I make a comment on this type of questions. Having said that, by considering the current condition of the team, players are showing very positive attitudes and they finish all the programs in such good conditions. As this is the case, I think the team is making good progress for the better little by little.

(Is it correct that the pressing starts when the team lose their ball? )
I have no intention of giving a lecture on tactics. However, I can say that pressing does not necessary start from a player who is closest to the ball. This is because there are many different types of situations during matches. In some cases, no pressing is done or other players start the pressing. Being able to make the right kind of move at the right timing regardless whether there is a ball or not is part of the talent. I consider this as one of the exceptional abilities. Even when players train themselves seriously for several months with a very professional attitude, some may not be able to get it completely right. Making the right decision according to the given situation and play for the team is one of the important elements as well as a talent. When a player is truly gifted, he often has an excellent strategic mind as well.

(Is it something like “judgment ability”?)
What is as importantly required for players as judgment ability is their predictive skills and this applies to other sports especially ball games. When players have good predictive abilities, they are able to start pressing at the right timing.

(What did you think of the training match against the Meiji University team on the seventh?)
To me, training matches are continuation of training sessions. During the morning training sessions on the seventh, I did not reduce the burden just because there would be a training match in the afternoon. I provided my players with a usual training program. For this reason, players only played for 45 minutes. As for the result of the match, to be honest with you, I do not really care about that. It is true that I did not focus on the result. I think the players did play relatively well. As far as I am concerned, training matches are part of training sessions.

(Many players seem to have made a comment on losing their ball at wrong times during the training match against Meiji University team.)
They certainly lost their ball too early several time. However, I don’t think it was due to strategic issues. I think they made mistakes simply because they were too tired. They had been worn out especially their lower body as they went through tough training sessions day after day. To be honest with you, my team may lose a training match during this preparation period soon. This is because they have been flat out because of the hard training sessions. It is not surprising if the team lose matches once or twice. Of course, I do not wish their defeat. However, it is not uncommon to lose matches against university teams whose motivation is very high during our team members’ preparation period once or twice. What I find very pleasing is that very few players have been injured. We have had a variety of training sessions and there are hardly any players who got injured. It is unfortunate that Umesaki sprained his lower back. But I regard it in a positive way as it came out of his love of football as it happened while he was tossing a ball with children during the break.

(Tsuboi had a running session separately half way through the team training in the afternoon.)
I told him to have a separate training program just to be cautious. I think he was able to finish the team training without any problems under usual circumstances. However, I did not want to put unnecessary strain on him nor did I want him to have a serious injury. That was why I made the decision of giving him a separate practice program just to be cautious. He doesn’t have a serious injury that would be printed in newspapers (lol). I told this to my team as well today that an intelligent player must know his physical condition as well and he must not put undue strain on himself. It is true that my players have a fantastic attitude and I really appreciate such a positive attitude towards training. However, it is not appropriate to make them go through training sessions forcefully or put them in a type of training that prolongs their injury when they are slightly injured. When players do something unnecessary and get injured while they are under physical strain, it will put the entire team in a difficult situation. For this reason, it is necessary for players to take this into consideration. When a player thinks his physical condition is not well I think it is more professional for a player to tell his team manager rather than participating in team training sessions. Depending on the situation, it is better for a player to have separate practice sessions instead of participating in a few team training sessions. I understand it is related to Japanese people’s mentality to try to overwork. I find the similar quality in Germans too. However, it is better to limit oneself to look after their physical condition than forcing themselves into team training sessions by taking such risks.

(Are you going to observe the national team’s match against Australia tomorrow?
I am planning to see the match but not to have interview (lol). I will go and watch the game privately. But, I would like to say that not only players from Urawa Reds but all the players do well for the match and wish for the national team’s victory. Winning this match is extremely important for the development of the entire J-League and football in Japan not only for the national team. I will pray and passionately observe the game in the stadium for the team’s good performance so that they can have three points.