For Urawa Reds to be Urawa Reds-Team Manager Petrovic   

Team Manager Petrovic did not speak much after yesterday’s match. The team manager shares his feelings with the official media on the following day.

What was the most difficult thing for me was that our team performed terribly for our supporters who did not give up on us and kept singing for us even after 45 minutes into the second half of the match. I made the decision of not speaking out all what I had to say straight after the match but rather to convey my feelings like this after a day of reflection to get myself together.

(How do you assess yesterday’s match?)
After I went back to my place, I watched the footage of a match played by our next opponent Cerezo Osaka against Sendai as well as our match against Kashiwa Reysol. What I was able to see again while watching our match was that our team players who had the ball free made many simple mistakes in passing the ball yesterday even though they practice ball passes, controlling and keeping during their training well. While there are many points that our team players have to improve, the most important thing for them to overcome is to be more confident and play in a more positive manner. I understand that they are not fully confident about themselves since the club has been going through some difficulties in recent years. However, I have just reaffirmed that it is important for the team to be united to overcome this difficult challenge together.

(The team lost a goal immediately after the match started. It seemed as though there was a big difference between Kashiwa Reysol and Urawa Reds when it came to the speed of switching from offense to defense.)
That is exactly right. Our team was so slow when switching themselves from offense to defense. Our opponent made the second goal by making a long distance shot from outside the penalty area. I felt that this summed up the match we had yesterday. Since we are playing sport, it is inevitable that one of the teams will lose. However, when a team loses a game, they should lose potently. I would have been convinced if they lost like a man. But, it was very unfortunate that I was not able to see that in our team when they were playing the match yesterday. If they had a strong desire to win the match, I assume it would have been reflected in the speed when the team switched from offense to defense. It was symbolic that the team did not show their strong desire to win. I think it meaningless if a team does not have a strong desire to win no matter how much they prepare themselves.

(You introduced Hara instead of Tatsuya yesterday.)
As I discovered that Tatsuya would not be able to play in the match due to his back pain in the morning yesterday, we had to make a special arrangement for that. As Hara did not have much time to prepare himself as we only learnt on the day that Tatsuya would not be able to perform, it might have had some negative impact on Hara’s performance. I had originally planned for Tatsuya to be in the lower top position with Marcio on the right. For this reason, I asked Hara to understand this well before I introduced him into that position.

(Was the decision made in order to change the current style or to prepare specifically for Kashiwa Reysol?)
It was not because of Kashiwa. Over the past few matches, there were several times when Edmilson was isolated. For this reason, I wanted to introduce a player who could move around behind him. I also thought that the number of chances that Marcio gets the ball would increase by placing Marcio on the right, which would eventually increase the number of attacking styles. I thought introducing Kashiwagi and Genki would create more scoring opportunities for the team. For this reason, I made such a decision. However, it was a pity that this did not work out well during the actual match.

(What about changing Ugajin?)
As I can not name a specific player and make a specific comment about the player, please ask him directly about his change. He knows why he had to be replace. But, a soccer match is something players win or lose as one. I am sorry but I cannot blame a particular player or make a specific comment about one particular player.

* Ugajin explained the situation as follows.
Team Manager Petrovic always pointed out to me about my defense movements. The team manager stopped me during the training sessions we had the day and two days before the match and instructed me how I should follow our opponent players. The team manager told me that the reason he replaced me with another player at an early stage as he did during the match was that he wanted me to understand the significance of letting an opponent player to break through as he did. The team manager said to me that a player would be replaced by another player if he makes such mistakes in a big club like this.
In reality, in my career as a soccer player, it was the first time for me to leave the pitch as early as I did when I was playing as a starting line up member. For this reason, I felt so depressed after that. I felt very embarrassed about the change over with another player before I was able to achieve anything especially in front of so many supporters who came to see us in bad weather. After I came back home, I thought about the moment we lost the goal all the time whenever I was not preoccupied with something else. However, there is no point for me to keep dwelling on it. There is no choice but to keep training myself to improve from past mistakes. All I can do is to keep practicing so that I can regain the team manager’s trust again as well. I would like to start afresh again.

(Spiranovic was also replaced by another player in two consecutive matches both around the same time.)
It is true that he was replaced by another player around the same time during the last two matches. However, both situations were different. During the last week’s match, he was not feeling well and we were not sure how long he was able to last after half time. For this reason, we had another player prepared to change over at any time when necessary. As for yesterday’s match, since he was given a yellow card and the team was losing the match with the score of 0 to 2, it was necessary for us catch up with our opponent somehow. For this reason, I introduced an aggressive player and made Nobuhisa Yamada stay in a back position. Therefore, I decided to change Spiranovic for very different reasons yesterday.

(The team will have three consecutive home matches. How will your team fight?)
I think the next three home matches will give us great opportunities to break free from the current difficult situation. During our meetings, we all go through the points we need to improve by checking footage of our past matches. We need to make improvements as a team and as an individual players. For Ugajin, it is very important for him to learn something from his change over so that he will not repeat the same mistake next time. It will be difficult for us to overcome this difficult situation if we do not go through this together as one. However, more specific strategies should remain among us in our meeting room. So, please understand that I will not make any specific comments.

(What would you like to say to your fans and supporters now?)
Under yesterday’s circumstance, it would have been natural if our supporters started to get upset and let out their loud booing. However, our supporters cheer and encourage us and keep singing for us for the entire 90 minutes regardless of our poor performances. I do not think there would be many teams in the world which gets so many supporters in the stadium like us. Our fans are such special fans. For this reason, Urawa Reds is such a special club. If we started to lose many supporters, we would not be Urawa Reds. Once again, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to those who always support us for the solid 90 minutes. I would also like to ask them to keep supporting for the next 90 minutes so that Urawa Reds will be able to be Urawa Reds.

Urawa Reds Official Media [URD: OM]