Team Manager Mischa – Press Conference after the match against Gamba Osaka  

Comment from Team Manager Mischa after the 2016 J. League YBC Levain Cup Final Match against Gamba Osaka

As I had commented during the pre-match press conference yesterday, we had expected the match played by the two great teams, Urawa Reds and Gamba Osaka to be a dead heat match and either of us could have won or lost. The match turned out to be a very tough match as we had envisaged.

People have said that we have lost a lot of finals and we don’t have the stomach for the battle. There is an element of truth about that and dealing with our past experiences and the pressure was not easy.

I am not sure if such past experiences put too much pressure on our players but we were not able to play the type of soccer we had aimed to play today. Particularly, our team struggled to build up attacks from behind as we had aimed to and our opponent team outperformed us often when we were battling around the ball.

Having said that, though our performance was not that great during the first half, our opponent team didn’t create decent opportunities for themselves either. Nonetheless, Gamba Osaka scored a goal and led the match during the first half of the match. What happened at that time was that our opponent players intercepted the ball around the halfway line and made a counter attack against us. We lost the goal in a typical manner after that counter. Our team hasn’t allowed that type of scenario to happen for some time. However, our team lost a goal in a classic way by making a mistake today.

During half time, I scolded some of our players as they were not playing the type of soccer we were aiming to play.

Once the second half of the match started, our players were able to correct a few points and were able to play the soccer we had hoped to play. Our team then managed to equalize with Gamba Osaka and created several opportunities to come from behind. I believe our team was able to put more pressure on our opponent than they did on us during the second half.

We also created more scoring opportunities than our opponent during extra time as well. Our team players had such a strong determination to score more goals. People often talk about having good luck also playing an important role in soccer matches. Gamba Osaka missed a goal as one of the balls they kicked hit the post instead. As a result, we were able to win the match in the penalty shootouts. Our team has lost many matches against Gamba Osaka in the past. While it is true that our team was not able to pull out the results we had wished to achieve in many occasions, I believe that our team’s performance has outdone Gamba Osaka’s in most of the matches we have played against each other. As for today’s match, our team was able to outperform our opponent team in many regards and we managed to nail the crucial aspects of the match.

We won the final today by winning the penalty shootout and for that you need luck. As many of you may recall in the J. League Championship semi-final match we played against Gamba Osaka last year, we lost that match after Gamba Osaka’s back-pass ball hit the post and the ball bounced back which led to the counter in which we lost a goal. During additional time, Endo missed his goal as the ball he kicked hit the bar. I believe luck was against us at that time and Gamba Osaka was regarded as the winner.

I am not certain how you will assess today’s match. Urawa Reds won as our performance was worthy of the victory. Or, did we win as luck was on our side? How do you evaluate the match today?

In my opinion, the J. League Championship semifinal match we played last year can be regarded as one of the top five matches we played over the past five seasons. But, we lost the match at that time. I wonder if only the end result dictates everyone’s opinion. I am interested to see how everyone and the media will evaluate today’s match.
[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Mischa – Press Conference after the match against Gamba Osaka