Press conference after the match against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors Football Club  

Comment from Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira after the AFC Champions League 2019 Group Stage MD3 match against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors Football Club

We had a very challenging match as we had anticipated today. We played the match against a very high-quality team with a number of excellent players. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors is a very competitive team. We experienced difficulties in the first twenty minutes of the match as we struggled to build up the game well. However, after a while, we managed to pass the ball amongst ourselves and had even created some dangerous moments for our opponent team.

We had a better start for the second half of the match. We moved the ball around in our opponent side of the field and controlled the match by creating good opportunities for ourselves. However, we lost a goal when things were advantageous for us from a scenario which we have been practicing a lot. I cannot say anything but that it was a mistake that we lost the goal given the amount of time we invested in our practice.

However, things like this can happen during a soccer match.

Questions and Answers

Q: What was your plan to catch up with your opponent after your team lost the goal? You put Shibato in first to replace a player but did you plan to have Yuruki or Sugimoto first instead?

A: Even though our team was controlling the mid-field during the second half, since our opponent players started to take the second ball, I was thinking to get Shibato in before we lost a goal. Unfortunately, we lost the goal while we were getting Shibato ready.
As for the other two players, I put them into the team in order to beef up our aggressiveness. Since Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors started to play a defensive match, I had also taken one of our center backs away and put in one more forward player instead. The new forward player had managed to create the flow I was hoping to create by hitting the goal bar twice with the ball he kicked. However, we were not able to come from behind nor equalize before the match ended.

Q: You mentioned that your team didn’t have a good start for the match. Based on that, what type of corrections did the team make? As there is another match to be played against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors Football Club soon, how would your team try to win the next match against them?

A: Since there are a few matches to play before we play our next match against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, we would like to first fulfill our duty for those matches. Since Fabrício may be able to come back to the team before the next match, we may have a very different match next.
It was not good that our team was hesitant during the first 20 minutes of the match today. However, following that little worrying 20 minutes at the beginning of the match, our team had managed to get into the penalty area by connecting the ball well by grounder passes and having a good combination play by forming a triangle on a side.

As for the second half, we were able to create a better flow in a calmer manner since we corrected ourselves during half time. Our players were moving around more warding off the opponent’s marking. However, as I said earlier, we lost a goal from a type of scenario we had practiced a lot. Obviously, we anticipated our opponent team to play the way they did today. But, we could not stop and intercept their movements. Certainly, the level of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors players are high and Adriano, the player who changed over is a high-quality player with agility and speed.

Q: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors are known for their aerial plays and they had a tall forward player on the bench today. However, Adriano was the one who was put in the team rather than the forward player. Was that what you had expected or were you rather surprised a little?

A: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors certainly has a few tall and strong players and they do tend to pass long balls. At the beginning of the match, our team members were dealing more with players such as Ricardo Lopes and Lee Dong-Gook and trying to mark them for their aerial plays. For this reason, we were hesitant in our approach to start with. But, we started to control the match after a while. However, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors changed their play style by putting Adriano in the team. They become more aggressive by having him in the team. But, this was one of the scenarios we had anticipated. Nonetheless, our team couldn’t respond well against our opponent’s high-quality performance even though we had practiced and discussed those scenarios.

Q: Urawa Reds struggled for the first 20 to 25 minutes of the match but after that they started to play their style of soccer as you mentioned. Though the team had lost today, don’t you think the players performance was rather positive?

A: That is right. We need to step up our efforts as there are more areas for us to improve. But, our opponent’s level was higher than our recent opponent against whom we didn’t do well. Against such a high level opponent, I believe our team played positively today.

Q: At the begging of the match, Urawa Reds players were held back and had allowed Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors players to play the match at their own pace. But, as you had pointed out, your members changed after 20 minutes into the match. Do you think this was because they changed their mentality and removed their fear? After Urawa Reds started to play the match at their pace, what kind of corrections did your team make for the second half of the match?

A: I can nod at your question. My answer is that I totally agree with what you said. During half time, I told our team that they had to play courageously, and that they had to fight unflinchingly. Following that, their performance changed even further during the second half.

Q: You used the word “hesitant” a few times to describe your team. The fact that they were held back under high pressure from your opponent was because the level of pressure the team got from the opponent team was more than they usually experience in the J. League or were there other phycological factors?

A: As we humans have different biorhythms, what happened today can happen. At this present moment, I cannot answer why this had happened. But, what I can say is that I kept telling Iwanami who was playing hesitantly near the bench to get the ball and to take initiative. After a while, he was able to play differently. When we play against a team with a number of tall players, we should not reply on Koroki alone to guard against their aerial plays. After our other players started to play less hesitantly, a good flow was crated for the team such as executing good combination plays from a triangle formation and Muto playing in the penalty area.

During half time I instructed our team members to focus more on those points. They then started to perform even better with good dribbling and triangle formations, and they had even managed to strike goals which hit the goal post. However, as you had pointed out, there are times when their actions won’t translated into a good result.

As the bus will be leaving soon, I must go. Otherwise, I would continue talking with you. I am very honored to be able to answer your questions.
When we win, I wish to go soon so that we can celebrate. But, when we lose, it is difficult to see through things because of the bad vibes. However, during such times is when I need to give good explanations.

We will play the next match with a strong determination to win.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Press conference after the match against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors Football Club