Team Manager Mischa - press conference after the match against Vegalta Sendai  

Comment from Team Manager Mischa after the Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company J. League 1st Stage 11th Sec match against Vegalta Sendai

We had a very stressful game today. It must have been a very interesting match for our fans and supporters to watch as both teams scored a total of eight goals together. However, I found the match quite stressful as a team manager.

As you know, playing away matches in Sendai has been very much a challenge for Urawa Reds. Sendai has been an incompatible place for our team to do well. Even after I became team manager, the team has struggled to win away matches here in Sendai. During the first half of the match today, though our players were able to control the match, they were a little slow in their handling of the ball. The team moved the ball predominantly on the same side. It was necessary for the team to move the ball more across the pitch to the other side. As a result of failing to do so, our team lost control of the ball and lost the first goal after receiving swift attacks from our opponent team.

Despite losing the goal, our team was able to carry out the match in a calm manner though they were still slow in their handling of the ball. It was good that our team managed to finish the first half of the match with a result of one to one by catching up with our opponent at the very end of the first half. In the second half of the match, I introduced Koroki and Lee by replacing other players. Our team had a very good start to the second half and we were leading the match with a result of three to one. However, as we saw during the first half of the match that our opponent team had the tendency for playing long balls, Vegalta Sendai players started to concentrate more on their long ball attacks especially after we led the match by three to one.

I believe our team was not able to win the match today as our defense line was pushed back too far because of Vegalta Sendai’s long ball attacks. When our defense line is pushed back too far and long balls are kicked close to the penalty area, it will be difficult to predict where second balls will land. If the ball is accidentally picked up by an opponent player, he will be in a good position of kicking a scoring shot swiftly. I think this is how we lost a few goals today.

It is necessary for us to keep our defense line up high against such an opponent. It is also important that front line players must put pressure on the ball. I thought our team became a little passive after we started to lead the match. However, this is not unique to just Urawa Reds and can happen to any team around the world. Considering how the match unfolded, it was rather positive that our team was able to finish the match with a draw in the end. However, we must learn from today’s experience to do better in the future.
The J. League is a very hard-edged league where any team can win or lose as the level of teams is very competitive. I regard Vegalta Sendai is also a great team with a number of good players of high quality.

One positive thing about today’s match is that not only myself but also the team, media and our supporters were not fully satisfied with the one point Urawa Reds gained today. I take this as something rather positive for Urawa Reds as we aim higher. Gaining just one point is not satisfactory to us for what we aim to achieve. We don’t fight just to win but we fight thinking about how we will win so that we can bring ourselves to a higher level. We will apply the lessons leant today to our future matches without being satisfied with our tied result.
[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD:OM)]

Team Manager Mischa – press conference after the match against Vegalta Sendai