Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Cerezo Osaka  

Comment from Team Manager Oliveira after the Meiji Yasuda J1 League 4th sec match against Cerezo Osaka

The match unfolded as we had expected. We had a very tough match. Cerezo Osaka is a fantastic team with very high-quality players in every position. We knew before we started the match that we had to work really hard in order to be on a par with them.

I was able to see our players were putting what they have learnt from our previous Wednesday away match out there. They had held themselves up really well again playing an away match against a high-level team today. Our opponent team also had to play a match on Wednesday but some of their players had more time to rest before the match as they changed some of their players from their last match. Against such an opponent, our team was able to win the match today thanks to the great work our team members pulled out. I would like to commend our players for this victory.

I would like to add one more important thing here. That is how Shinzo Koroki regards his team mates and how he supports them. During our previous match against Beijing, we changed the system to be 5 - 4 - 1 half way through the match. When this happened, he went to the midfield to respond to this change while leaving his colleague forward player in the front position. As for today’s match, despite the fact that he is one of the most important players in the team, he gave the penalty kick opportunity to Sugimoto. I think Koroki gave the opportunity to him knowing that it would be an important goal for him to score. I feel very proud of the fact that I have known him personally since when he first started his carrier as a soccer player 12 years ago.

Questions and Answers

Q: During the press conference yesterday, you told us that if Sugimto would play in today’s match, the reason would be because of his capability. Since he played in today’s match and he brought a positive result to the team, what kind of impact do you think this would have on him? In addition, do you think you selected Sugimoto to play in today’s match also because of the fact that Cerezo Osaka is his former team?

A: It is true that Sugimoto had played for Cerezo Osaka for a long time. For this reason, obviously, I thought of him with this fact in mind. However, what I really was contemplating was if he plays in the match against Cerezo Osaka, if he would be emotionally unstable. Some players become emotionally a little unstable when they play against their old team for the first time. Having said that, as far as Sugimoto was concerned, I believe I would have used him whether our opponent was Cerezo Osaka or Barcelona. I didn’t send him onto the pitch today because he was a Cerezo Osaka player before.

Q: Yamanaka and Martinus, who you sent onto the pitch as replacements, performed well and helped the team to come from behind today. What do you think of them responding to your decision so positively in such a short period of time?

A: Yamanaka and Martinus have been playing well together on the left side during training. Both of them are speedy and have good skills around passing, crossing and kicking. For this reason, I had a good expectation for them to build a good form as long as I put both of them on the same side. I was also expecting this development will provide a good momentum for our team to score goals. The two scoring opportunities were created as a result of a side change from right to left. One of the chances created was a result of Martinus’s good move and the other was thanks to Yamanaka’s highly precise free kick.

Q: You replaced Nagasawa with Shibato after nine minutes into the second half of the match today. What was the reason for this first player change happening at a relatively early stage today and what was your intention of putting Shibato into that position?

A: Since our opponent player Souza was playing in our vital area in front of the penalty area, I decided to introduce Shibato. Perhaps due to some fatigue, Nagasawa wasn’t pressing our opponent strong enough. I put Shibato in to suppress Souza who is a good game maker and passer. I envisaged that having Nagsawa who was in fresh condition would help to defend the midfield between Ewerton.

Q: After today’s match, the team has a little break from playing in an official match. What would you like your team to concentrate working on during this break period?

A: Fabrício won’t be able to return back to the team until April. What I am really worried about the most at the moment is when Aoki and Muto can come back to the team. I really want them to come back to the team as soon as possible. It was great that our team was able to win today’s match. However, not having Aoki and Muto is still affecting the team strongly.

Before I finish the press conference, please let me talk about two more points. Firstly, the referees’ performance during today’s match was great. They were observing the match closely and made calls very carefully. Having said that, when Cerezo Osaka players had two throw-ins, their player was stepping on the line and their body was slightly inside of the pitch. Cerezo Osaka’s throw-ins were very dangerous for our team. I wonder if they missed picking on up this point when they had the two throw-ins.

In addition to this, when Martinus received a foul, he was regarded as the one who committed a foul. As a result, our opponent had a freekick, from which they were able to create a good opportunity.

There is one more thing that I would like to mention. While team managers can cause a team to lose, there are not many matches that are won thanks to the job of team managers. However, I feel the team manger played a part in the team winning the match today. Thank you very much.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Cerezo Osaka