Team Manager Mischa - press conference after the match against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo  

Comment from Team Manager Mischa after the Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company J. League 8th sec match against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo
We have achieved our goal of winning the match today. Our team played a good match and created many good opportunities. Looking at the match result of two to three alone, some may think that Consadole Sapporo did a good job against us. However, looking back at the actual content of the match, I trust that we were able to show the differences in our abilities throughout the match today.

When our opponent players form a tight block and play defensively in their side of the field, it is not easy for us to create scoring opportunities. However, our team had managed to create many scoring chances today despite such a situation. What we have to focus more on from now is to brush up our skills of making the most of the scoring opportunities we create. However, as far as the content of the match was concerned, our performance was almost similar to the one we had when we played against Vegalta Sendai in which we won against them with the result of seven to zero. Given Consadole Sapporo had nothing to lose against us, our team did very well by playing like we did today and I am pleased about that.

As I have commented during the press conference yesterday, abilities of each team in the J. League are neck-and-neck. Very competitive matches are played among J. League teams every week where either team can win or lose. As for this particular season, teams such as FC Tokyo and Kashima Antlers are going above the rest in terms of the quality of their players. Likewise, the bottom five teams may be lacking slightly in terms of the quality of their players. However, the remaining 10 or 11 teams are very competitive and I don’t think there is more than 10 percent of difference when it comes to their quality. Considering these points as well as the results of the 8th sec matches, it is not difficult to understand why every J. League match is a tough match.

Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo is a good team which won against strong teams such as Sanfrecce Hiroshima and FC Tokyo. They also drew against Kawasaki Frontale. Consadole Sapporo players make up for their differences in players’ quality well by running and fighting hard. In this sense, the abilities of J. League teams are truly competitive. Ventforet Kofu also has very capable foreign players and well-experienced Japanese players. Every J.1 team has good tactics and all players run and battle hard. For this reason, the match we played today was no exception but I am pleased that our team was able to achieve the goal we had aimed to achieve.

The strength of Urawa Reds can be found in that each player fulfills his own role and responsibility based on the overall team’s concept. If any of them started to do their own thing, we won’t remain as a strong team. Our player Muto came from Vegalta Sendai where he often was not a regular member. Komai came from a J.2 League team. Regardless of their previous background, they have made efforts and have developed themselves to the current Urawa Reds’ level. The strength of our team is created as a result of every player understanding our team’s tactics and fulfilling his own role and responsibility. I don’t think our players are special in comparison to other teams’ players. However, they are regarded highly as a result of fulfilling their defined roles while understanding the team’s overall tactics. If our players trust their own abilities alone and start to do their own thing, our team will break apart and we won’t be able to bring out our strength.
It is not as easy as it seems to have all team players work in coordination to move the ball forward to create scoring opportunities against a tight defense. Our players are acutely aware of this. For example, the ball Ugajin kicked back from the side change was intercepted by the opponent goal keeper. If he was able to kick the ball back more firmly, he could have scored a goal as a result. But, what I find amazing is the fact that Ugajin intentionally created such an opportunity at that time. When such opportunities are created, we can certainly work on improving our accuracy to make the most of such opportunities. What is most important is for every member of the team to work together to build attacks while breaking through our opponent’s defense by sharing the same vision.

We have created many chances today and some of them should have been nailed firmly. However, the fact that our team had created many such great opportunities is something important and commendable.

One of the great coaches I trained under once said that it is not easy to break free from the opponent’s blocks even if we tried to pass the ball around using our hands. As we are trying to do this without using our hands, it is natural for us to make mistakes and drop accuracy as we suffer from fatigue. Despite this, our team had managed to work in good coordination with each other and had created many chances today. I think our players created about seven decisive opportunities throughout the match today. I found this amazing and I respect our players for this. I believe they deserve my commendation for their great job today.
[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Mischa – press conference after the match against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo