Team Manager Mischa – press conference after the match against Kashima Antlers  

Comment from Team Manager Mischa after the Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance 2016 J. League Championship final second leg match against Kashima Antlers

We had a really good start to the match and we had managed to score a goal first at an early stage. We had created several opportunities to score a few more goals after that. However, from around 30 minutes into the match, we started to struggle to pass the ball around well. All our players did was just to kick the ball forward. I cannot deny the fact that our team started to play a defensive match after our opponent team began their attacks against us following their loss of the first goal.

Before the match started, I have requested our players to make sure that they connect the ball from behind rather than just defending themselves by breaking the defense of our opponent team. However, our team started to struggle to have the ball in their possession from the midway point of the first half of the match. As a result, our opponent team had managed to catch up with us.

During half time, I told the team to build up our attacks from behind rather than just moving the ball forward. I believe they made some improvements in this regard to some extent. However, as time passed by, our players’ stamina started to suffer a little. After our opponent players started to outdo our players more in terms of battling around the ball, our team lost a second goal. With the last 15 minutes of the match remaining, I decided to have the two-top formation by putting Makino forward with an aim to catch up with our opponent team with the use of long-balls and crosses. Had we been calmer or sharper in our movements and stamina, we could have scored another goal. But, unfortunately, we were not able to do so and lost the match with one to two.

As members of the sports community, we would like to congratulate Kashima Antler’s for their victory.

We came to play the final as a team that scored 15 more points throughout the year than Kashima Antlers. The total score of the past two leg matches was two to two if we simply add our winning result of one to zero from the away match and today’s result of one to two. However, due to the away goals rule, our team lost in the end. I don’t know if there was any advantage for us as a team that scored 15 more points than our opponent during the season. In any case, I believe that our team just didn’t lose as a result of a one-win, one-loss battle.

When neck-and-neck teams play an all-or-nothing match against each other, we never know which team will win in the end in the world of soccer. I know our players are feeling extremely disappointed and saddened by losing this important title match not to mention everyone concerned including the club, our fans and supporters. However, as the team manager of Urawa Reds team, I view this very differently and I feel it is part of my role to share my view.

Here is what I believe and I want to convey this to everyone including our players, staff members, the club and our fans and supporters. The fact of the matter is that Urawa Reds had a remarkable season this year and I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to making the season remarkable. In addition, I am extremely proud of everyone. I don’t think the season we had and the results we have achieved during the season are something we should look down upon. I believe everyone should put their chins up as I am extremely proud of what we had achieved.

If anyone would like to criticize us as a result of today’s match, that criticism should only be directed to me as the team manager. I know our players, staff members, our fans and supporters, the club and everyone concerned had achieved great outcomes this season. I am enormously grateful for everyone’s support as the team manager of Urawa Reds. Thank you so much.
[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Mischa – press conference after the match against Kashima Antlers