Team Manager Mischa and Abe attend official pre-match interview session  

An official AFC Champions League 2013 pre-match interview session was held at Guangzhou Tianhe Sports Center in the afternoon on 25 February. Urawa Reds Team Manager Mischa and player Yuki Abe attended the interview session to answer questions by local and Japanese media.

Q: How well is your team prepared for the upcoming first match?

Team Manager Mischa: Urawa Reds has struggled and took a while to achieve good results until recently since the team won the Asian Champions League title in 2007. The team managed to finish the last J. League season ranked third and finally was able to come back to play against other Asian teams. This will be our first match for the season and I am not sure how well the team has prepared until I see how our players perform in their first match. Nonetheless, I can say that our players are in good condition after going through our camp training.

Q: (To Team Manager Mischa) How do you feel about playing against the team which is led by Team Manager Marcello Lippi?
(To Abe) What is your impression of the opponent team?

Team Manager Mischa: Team Manager Lippi is such a great team manager. He led the team which won the World Cup title. He has managed top world class teams and I have so much respect for him. Our opponent team has great capital resources. They have not only a great team manager but also high quality players who respect the team. If we compare our financial background with them, we are behind. However, when it comes to playing soccer, things are different. We will be courageous to play a good match against our opponent.

Yuki Abe: Guangzhou Evergrande Football Club has several star players. As they play against teams in the J. League, I know well enough about the team. As soccer is a team sport which requires all 11 players to play together as one, we will play united as Urawa Reds tomorrow.

Q: Which player do you think is the best player in Guangzhou Evergrande F.C.? Do you think Urawa Reds can win tomorrow?

Team Manager Mischa: It was not easy to gain much information about Chinese football teams. However, we have managed to get some footage of the Chinese team’s performance recorded during last season. We know that they have quite a few national team players. I am also aware that they have to pull out one foreign player as well. Based on the information I have, there will be three aggressive foreign players. No one knows about the result before the match. All I know now is tomorrow’s match will be a good match for both teams. People will find out about our result only after the match tomorrow.

Q: Traditionally speaking, in China, people show their weakness to their opponent before the match and display their true strength during the match in order to win. Is it part of your strategies that you avoid speaking about an expected outcome of the match? Will your team show us what they have been working on in training during tomorrow’s match?

Team Manager Mischa: It is not our intention to display our team’s weakness as you suspect. Urawa Reds is one of Japan’s top class football clubs and a strong team. But, our opponent team is also a top level club. For this reason, no one can tell what the result will be tomorrow. In order for us to win, we need some luck as well. Referees also need to do a good job. Match commissioners also need to do a good job. In order for us to have a positive outcome, many things need to be right.

Guangzhou Evergrande F.C.is a very formidable team and we have so much respect. All we have to do is to play at full power without fear. Just because I do not talk about our expected outcome, it doesn’t mean we are trying to make ourselves look inferior.

Q: (To Team Manager Mischa) You seemed to have had some problems with your legs when you entered the field. Are you suffering from some type of injuries? If so, does it affect your job as a team manager?

Team Manager Mischa: I had been a professional soccer player for over twenty years. If I were able to move around the pitch as other players, I would have continued to play soccer as a player right now (lol). Actually, I had an operation on my back about two months ago. However, having a little problem with my legs does not affect my role as a team manager at all. My head is very clear and I have very good vision. My weak legs do not hinder my job. If a team manager could run as fast as players, I guess it is not such a good thing (lol).

Q: This is a question for Abe. There are many good soccer players in Japan and they have achieved good results when playing against players in China. Given this is the case, we trust that you are confident about tomorrow’s match. What is your feeling about this?

Yuki Abe: To be honest with you, I have never thought about ourselves in that way. As Team Manager Mischa has just said, all we need to do is to play well against anyone without any fear.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD:OM)]

Team Manager Mischa and Abe attend official pre-match interview session