Team Manager Mischa - press conference after the match against Albirex Niigata  

Comment from Team Manager Mischa after the J. League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Quarter-finals 2st Leg match against Albirex Niigata

Prior to today’s match, our team performed terribly during the second half of our previous away match, the 1st Leg match of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup. For this reason, today’s match was a difficult match for us.

Even though we lost the 1st Leg match with a large margin, we thought we were capable of turning around the previous result with enough courage and we believed in ourselves to be able to do so.

When we played our J. League home match against Albirex Niigata, we won the match with the result of five to two. I thought our team had strength to score five points today.

As for the first half, we started the match with the intention of scoring goal points by breaking through our opponent team by interlocking the team’s movements through deploying players with high speed and mobility. Our team had a strong determination to win and was able to perform as we intended to some degree. However, they struggled in terms of accuracy when it came to last pass or goal scoring kicks during the first half of the match.

As for the second half of the match, I introduced Lee with the intention of putting more pressure on our opponent team by deploying a more aggressive formation. The team played high-tempo soccer with abundant stamina during the first half and was able to even accelerate their movements during the second half of the match. It was good that they were able to continuously put pressure on our opponent team and managed to score three goals.

Urawa Reds players played the match by putting everything they had into the match today to score goals without giving up until the last moment under such a tight situation where losing even one goal can have a detrimental effect. Though we unfortunately lost the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup, I think the performance the team pulled out today was worthy of being appraised.

Had Muto’s goal kick for our fourth goal been nailed during the second half of the match, we could have put more pressure on our opponent and we would have had the chance to come from behind. I don’t wish to make much comment about referees as it may sound as though I am trying to come up with some excuses, but during my 41-year professional soccer career, I never had experienced a scenario where a fouled player received no yellow card when a penalty kick was called against a foul play of knocking a player down from behind. Though I don’t wish to speak out, I feel I have little choice but to say that something is not quite right when a yellow card wasn’t issued when Abe’s attempt to score a goal was thwarted from behind in the penalty area.

However, having said that, I am fully aware that judgement calls by referees won’t provide any excuses for our defeat in the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup. We are out of the Cup as a result of losing several goals during the second half of our previous away match. I feel very sorry for our supporters.

This is just a hypothetical talk but if the fouled opponent player was sent off from the pitch at the time of the penalty kick, our team could have played with one more player than our opponent for the rest of the match. I know we have no excuses. Nonetheless, our players played with their utmost strength until the very last moment of the match. I feel their attitude was something to be praised.
[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD:OM)]

Team Manager Mischa – press conference after the match against Albirex Niigata