Press conference after the match against Beijing Sinobo Guoan Football Club  

Comment from Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira and Kazuki Nagasawa after the AFC Champions League 2019 Group Stage MD6 match against Beijing Sinobo Guoan Football Club

Comment from Oswaldo Oliveira

As was expected, we had a very challenging match. But, our players worked so hard to nullify our opponent team’s strong points. We were also in good luck at the beginning of the match when our goalkeeper managed to stop a crucial goal kick a Beijing Sinobo player had attempted. I believe our team members were able to keep effective defense throughout the match today. When it came to scoring goals, our players were able to perform very accurately.
Nagasawa had to go on to the pitch earlier than planned as a result of Kashiwagi leaving the pitch because of his injury. However, his presence on the pitch had a significant impact during today’s match. He did an excellent job in defense by marking our opponent players and also scored a goal. He also provided great assistance when our team scored the second goal. He was also involved when our third goal was scored as well. I am sure today’s match turned out to be an excellent match not only for the team but also for Nagasawa.

Comment from Kazuki Nagasawa

As a result of Kashiwagi sustaining an injury, I needed to join the team at an early stage during the first half of the match. I thought we all had a strong determination to win the match today since before the match started, in order to advance to the final round. Though I joined the team after the match started, I went onto the pitch with a strong determination to score goals today. I am genuinely happy that my determination paid off.

Questions and Answers

Q: The first goal you scored was fantastic. You also did a great job in assisting the team to score the second goal by overcoming the hard defense of your opponent team. What kind of image was in your mind when you were playing on the pitch today?

Kazuki Nagasawa: Since I was able to break free from our opponent’s fierce defense and move forward by dribbling the ball, I thought to myself that I should aim to score a goal. However, since I was able to see Muto being free at a great timing, I changed my mind to kick the ball to Muto. I am glad that Muto was able to nail the opportunity. He did a great job by moving around and by scoring the goal.

Q: After Urawa Reds led the first half of the match with the result of 2 to 0, I was wondering what was going to happen in the second half and was keenly observing the team’s performance. I thought the team was more forthcoming and did an even better job during the second half of the match. How did you psych up the team?

Oswaldo Oliveira: As I mentioned earlier, we had a very challenging task to fulfill today. When we played an offensive match against a high-quality team such as Beijing Sinobo Guoan in the past, we often ended up with having the same numbers of defense players playing. In fact, we had the same type of situation today as well. In this case, our basic defense approach was to try to thwart the movements of our opponent’s game makers, in other words, Renato Augusto and Jonathan Viera in today’s case. Our players marked them hard. However, both of them had managed to pull out great performances every now and then. Having said that, it was good that our players were able to keep them under control for most of time. Overall, we needed to make so much effort in order to score goals during the match today.

Q: You said recently that the team was lacking the impellent force to move forward this season and this was something that the team needed to improve. But, during today’s match against a formidable team such as Beijin Sinobo Guoan, apart from the first 15 minutes being under Beijin’s attack, the team played impelling soccer, and this got even better in the second half of the match. I imagine how your team played during the match today must have given a great momentum to the team and what do you think of this?

Oswaldo Oliveira: I am hoping that how our team played in today’s match will give a good boost to them. At the beginning of the season, we had a number of players who couldn’t train themselves well in our pre-season camp. But, we didn’t have alternative players in our team who were able to play at the same level as those players. At present, those players’ conditions are improving. However, when they are not fresh, it is difficult for them to mark opponent players effectively and move sharply. But, they were able to have enough rest after the match against Nagoya Grampus without playing any official matches and prepared themselves well by having controlled training sessions. Afterall, they are high-level players and I trust this helped them to perform well during today’s match.

Q: Looking at how Urawa Reds have been playing in the past six ACL matches and other J. League matches, it seems as though the team was more determined to win when playing ACL matches. Are there any differences in the mood depending on what team they play against etc?

Oswaldo Oliveira: We are always determined to win any matches we play. Our team created many good opportunities during the previous J. League match we played. Though we did well during the first half, we couldn’t win the match since we were not able to sustain ourselves well during the second half.

As for today’s match, we were able to achieve what we struggled to achieve since we had several fresh players. Either way, we always aim to win any match we play. But, I must say how we play may change a little depending on the quality and the characteristics of our opponent.

Q: We have seen how you were able to make your team win big matches since early times. In order to prepare the team mentally for today’s match, did you have any special approach?

Oswaldo Oliveira: Today’s match was crucial in the sense whether our team could continue to remain in the ACL. For this reason, I had divided the team into two groups in terms of preparation after the Nagoya Grampus match, the one for the match against Shonan Bellmare and the other for today’s match against Beijing Sinobo Guoan.

As today’s match approached, in addition to the training on the pitch, I had a discussion with my team in order to give them a good direction. As a result, Urawa Reds were able to pull out a winning match. However, as I said repeatedly, it was a very difficult match for us to play. It is not easy to play against a high-quality team such as Beijing Sinobo Guoan that had won ten consecutive matches in the Chinese League. Our team did a great job by winning the match against such a formidable team with the result of 3 to 0 today.

Q: Now that Urawa Reds is through the group stage, the fierce battle will continue. What do you think will be important for the team to win in the Asian arena? The next match will be held soon in June. Are there any points you want your team to improve on in order to prepare themselves well for the knockout stage round 16?

Oswaldo Oliveira: The characteristics of the championship change after today. This is because the championship will be a home and away match knock-out style tournament. The battles we will face will be different from what we had in the group stage. Therefore, we need to prepare ourselves differently. We would like to prepare ourselves well for the upcoming match to be held next month.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Press conference after the match against Beijing Sinobo Guoan Football Club