Team Manager Mischa - press conference after the match against Yokohama F. Marinos  

Comment from Team Manager Mischa after the Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company J. League 2nd stage 17th sec match against Yokohama F. Marinos

First of all, thank you for welcoming me into the room with a big round of applause. It’s taking me a while to get used to the idea but we have at last won the annual title.
I knew today’s match against Yokohama F. Marinos would be a very challenging one. They have recently had several new young players join their team and they have been playing more disciplined soccer with stamina and a hungry spirit. Having watched how they have been playing lately, I expected today’s match not to be easy.

As for our team, we played the match with a strong fighting spirit in order to win without worrying about how other teams in other stadiums were doing. I thought our team played the type of match we aimed to play by putting lots of pressure on our opponent team and stealing the ball from them in their side of the field.

Having said that, though we were able to take the ball away from them, our team members struggled with their short counter kicks in terms of accuracy. During the first half of the match, our team lost the ball shortly after they stole it from our opponent and they lacked in accuracy when handling the ball. They also didn’t have clear ideas about how they could break their opponents’ defense in the goal area and lacked in precision after they had the ball in their possession.

I guess our players had a strong sense of remaining calm today. However, they were under pressure to win the match as they played the match in the stadium filled with our supporters. Perhaps for this reason, they were a little too nervous or stiff or cautious and didn’t have their usual ideas and flexibility during the first half of the match.

The accuracy of our players’ last passes in and around our opponent’s penalty area was particularly low in the first half. Having too much pressure and nervousness must have undermined accuracy in their movements.

During the half time break, I told the team to improve the quality and accuracy of our play and restore their calm in the goal area. During the second half of the match, we were able to create several scoring opportunities while we remained calm, controlled the match, and put pressure on our opponent team. Nonetheless, the match progressed with the result of zero to zero as we couldn’t make the most of the chances we had created. When our opponent team tried to score goals by utilizing the little chances they created, I was pleased that Goal Keeper Nishikawa managed to block them. Despite such sharp attempts from our opponent team to score goals, our players moved the match forward calmly. Later, our team scored a goal and started to lead the match with one to zero.

Following that, we were blessed with a few goal scoring opportunities. However, Yokohama F. Marinos had managed to score a goal and caught up with us. Essentially speaking, we shouldn’t have lost the goal as we did today. We shouldn’t have let our opponent team to make the most of the little chances they created and this should not happen in the future. This is something we must analyze properly and reflect upon from now. But, the fact that this happened today is something I regard rather positively.
I feel very grateful for our team players who scored 74 points during the season and have won the annual title. I would like to commend them from the bottom of my heart. We started this season after a very short time off following the Emperor’s cup match at the end of the last season. I trust that we were one of the few J. League teams that had a very tough schedule this year. Despite this, our players did a fantastic job and delivered a great outcome. I believe Urawa Reds players’ performance and outcome prove that they deserve the annual title they have won. I wish to express my big gratitude to them.

I would also like to extend my great appreciation to our fans and supporters who rooted for us throughout this difficult season. Urawa Reds was able to complete a great mosaic picture this season. And, at the very center of the mosaic picture are our players and our fans and supporters. Our club, other staff members and I are small pieces of mosaic surrounding them. I am very thankful for the beautiful mosaic picture our players created with our fans and supporters this year. The picture will make me feel happy.

The biggest factors of our success this year were our players, fans and supporters.
[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Mischa – press conference after the match against Yokohama F. Marinos