Press conference after the match against Shanghai SIPG F. C.  

Comment from Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki after the AFC Champions League 2019 Quarter-Final 2nd leg match against Shanghai SIPG F.C.

Comment from Tsuyoshi Otsuki

We finished the match with a draw of 1 to 1 today but as a result of having scored two goals in our away match under the home and away rules, I am pleased that we are able to move to the next round in the end. I feel also very grateful to receive the big cheer of our fans and supporters in the stadium saying “We are REDS!” towards the end of the match. Their great cheer bolstered us. Though we struggled towards the end, thanks to both our supporters and our players working unitedly, we are able to gain the right to move to the next round. I am so grateful for this.

Questions and Answers

Q: I trust the team was under a difficult situation having only had two goals from the away match. How did you plan to play the 90 minutes today? What did you focus on today? Was it your team’s goal scoring or firm defense?

A: I told the team before the match that it would be important to go forward. I also said that we are playing in our home stadium. When we played the Levain Cup recently under the same home and away rules, we missed the opportunity to move to the next round. After having played that match, our players felt that it was important for us to go forward. We discussed that we could ride on our strength by moving forward.

In addition, just before the match started when we were getting out of the locker room, I asked our team to play the match as a “unified team”. I also asked Koroki who was in the position of the very front of the team as well as Nishikawa who was at the very back of the team to talk with the team to guide them to go in the right direction when our team would lose focus to play as a unified team. I was able to see that in action today. I am very happy to be able to see how our players worked together as a single unit today.

Q: I thought the team played the best soccer today after you assumed the team manager position.

A: If we were playing the best soccer, our score result should have been better such as 2 to 1 rather than 1 to 1. Nonetheless, we had the right type of atmosphere in the stadium today which made it possible for our team to let us release our emotional inhibitions. Our opponent also brought such quality from us today. Our opponent team also had a player who was suspended from playing in the match today like us. Obviously, we had a strong desire to move to the next round. Given our current J. League standings, we were in the dire situation where we had to show our true potential to show we are Urawa Reds. To this end, I spoke with the team and shared the objective of playing the type of game to regain confidence from everyone who is concerned with Urawa Reds including our fans and supporters today. I trust that this helped our players to do well and run around hard for our fans and supporters as well as for the club. I am so grateful for our players for their good work.

Q: The team kicked many long balls to both sides at the beginning of the match today. What was the intention?

A: We anticipated that our opponent would play in the 4-3-3 formation today. When we played our previous match against them, we had a situation where both teams had the same number of midfield players as a result of us trying to build up the game with three on our defense line midway through the second half of the match. We were under pressure and were trying to solve the situation by avoiding our opponent’s defensive midfielder. This created a space at first, but our opponent filled the space quickly and took this to their advantage. When our opponent team is utilizing their resources in that way, we must think about where else we can find other spaces. In addition, the position Hashioka is in is a mismatch due to a height deference. As such, we anticipated that we could take advantage of this situation to create some spaces there. We were able to use the space well as one of our options today. Hashioka performed really well today in terms of his driving force, awareness towards cross and middle range shots. I believe he can do even better. I also feel that players who surrounded Hashioka such as Nagasawa by his side and Iwanami at the back also assisted him well to get the best out of Hashioka today. Our team worked really well as a group today.

Comment from Shinzo Koroki

I had expected that we would have a very challenging match today. I thought if we were able to score the first goal at an early stage of the match, we would be able to take an upper hand and score more goals to keep the match under our control. However, our opponent team was formidable and after they scored their goal during the second half of the match, our team was under pressure many times. But, our defense players did a good job for not letting our opponent to score another goal. I have no idea as to who we will play against in the next round. But, personally, I want Kashima Antlers to get through to the next round.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Press conference after the match against Shanghai SIPG F. C. Press conference after the match against Shanghai SIPG F. C.