Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Buriram United F.C.  

Comment from Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira after the AFC Champions League 2019 Group Stage MD1 match against Buriram United F.C.

Comment from Oswaldo Oliveira

We had a very difficult match today as we had expected. Our opponent team was very organized and it was difficult to break them apart. In addition, they had a number of high-quality players. For this reason, our team had to fight against a team that was not easy to beat.

One of the players playing for Buriram United F.C. was Pedro Júnior. I know him well from my previous time in Japan. He is a very smart player with speed. Our team needed to guard against ourselves patiently from their attempt to wage counter attacks with Pedro as a key player.

When we had the ball in our possession, we moved the ball around very patiently. We tried to perform a few different combination plays such as moving to our opponent’s back side as well as trying triangles. However, we scored our goals as a result of set-pieces. When playing in our home stadium, we tend to perform more set-pieces. We were able to make the most of this during today’s match.

Questions and Answers

Q: During the first half of the match in particular, your team was using both sides widely by changing sides often. What was your intention for this? I also noticed that the team used the right side, the side with Hashioka rather than the left side with Ugajin. Was it because you had anticipated a good performance from Hashioka?

A: To be more precise, Moriwaki was on the side. Moriwaki is a player who is capable of playing in the back as well as wing-back positions.

Since I anticipated our opponent team to play as they did today, I put Ugajin and Makino on the left side who are used to being in the position and put Moriwaki on the right side to make him the attack originator. I put Hashioka alongside Moriwaki. Moriwaki is very good at handling the ball. So, I was hoping that our team could move forward by finding some space by making our opponent team move with us as we switched sides. But, Buriram players must have been practicing a lot. It was not that easy for us to achieve what we intended to achieve since all 11 players were guarding their goals.
For this reason, during half time, I had a discussion with the team and I instructed the team to move the ball behind our opponent’s high defense line. During the second half of the match, we were able to play as we had hoped to and we had managed to score goals from set-pieces.

Q: I trust all players were highly concentrated during the match. However, after the team scored the first goal, players had experienced a series of difficult situations as the match became more open. Wasn’t it necessary for your team players to have more awareness around controlling the game?

A: After we scored the first goal, I expected our opponent would be more aggressive rather than stick with their defensive style. As I said earlier, they are a very high-quality team and they have a number of great players including Pedro Júnior, thus very capable of playing an aggressive match. For this reason, the match became more open. But, as a result, we were able to control the match and build the game up, which led us to score the second goal. After our team nailed the second goal, I believe the match had settled a little.

Q: As for the third goal your team scored, Yuruki’s dribble had a decisive effect. Since this was his first time to play in an official match, could you please give some comment about his contribution as well as what you expect from him in the coming months? Please also comment on how you are planning to utilize him in the team.

A: He was a good surprise. The first time I heard of his name was when Strengthening Manager Kitano mentioned his name. We had a look at some videos of his performance, and I told him that we had to get this player. He is a very smart, speedy and quick-thinking player. However, as he is still young, I was afraid that he wasn’t ready to play for 90 minutes. I thought he would require more time to prepare himself fully.

In my original plan, I was thinking to put him in as part of the team after three months or so. However, he developed himself greatly during our Okinawa camp and he has been showing us his positive side. For this reason, I thought he won’t need three months of preparation time. That was why we had him on the bench during our previous match. As our team was leading the match today and there was some space allowed, I saw a perfect opportunity to try him out. In response, he performed as well as we had instructed and expected him to. Apart from the contributions he made for the third goal we scored, he also showed us some interesting sides.

Q: I trust that players you selected including the young ones winning today’s match will give the team a good momentum to move forward. What kind of effect do you think today’s winning result will have for the upcoming matches?

A: It is such a positive development that Urawa Reds young players are showing their presence to players in the older generation. Shibato has been blossoming. Hashioka is delivering decisive plays during matches. Ogiwara is showing us a great performance every time he is on the pitch.

In addition to them, other young players such as Oshiro, Iwatake and Iketaka are also working very hard during training. I trust that they will also be joining the battle for a position to play in the team from now just like Yuruki. As far as a position battle is concerned, this is not something the team manager will decide. This is more like players showing their best performance so that the team manager is compelled to select the one with the best performance. For this reason, I don’t consider criteria like their age, nationality, past experience and track record. Showing me good performances is the key. If they can show me good performances, this will lead to some great opportunities.

Q: Since your team won today’s match, shouldn’t you celebrate the winning result much more?

A: We have another match waiting on this Saturday. While answering questions here at the press conference, I am already thinking about our next match on Saturday. I am sure our next opponent team has been preparing themselves well for the weekend match. As a result of us winning the Emperor’s Cup, we are playing in this challenging ACL championship.

Compared to playing in the Levain Cup, the intensity of playing in the ACL is a little different. We will play the next match after today’s very hard match whereas our opponent may have had a better chance of resting. Nonetheless, it is an honor to play in the ACL.

Q: During today’s match, the defense was formed very quickly. I was under the impression that Urawa Reds kicked off slowly this season. But, the team started to score goals and they seem to have gained some pace too. Do you feel a positive change?

A: I think all these developments are part of a natural flow. With nine new players who joined the team, we are always aspiring to develop ourselves better. I request my team to score goals in our offense while improving our defense. Nothing has changed in terms of the goal we are pursuing. Since we had to play against difficult opponents, we were required to perform at a higher level.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Buriram United F.C.