Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Kashima Antlers  

Comment from Team Manager Oliveira after the Meiji Yasuda J1 League 30th Sec match against Kashima Antlers

We had a great game today. Even though we lost a goal during the first half of the match, we created a good form.

As for the second half of the match, we managed to score goals by calmly continuing to carry out what we did in the first half. Since our players were creating several scoring opportunities, I asked the team during the half time break to keep up with their good performance as they did in the first half in a calm manner.

Questions and Answers

Q: I thought the team carried out its best performance ever during this season up until around 30 minutes into the match today. However, the team was not able to score any goals during this period. As for the goals the team scored today, it was more attributed to a good corner kick and the player’s personal skills. I guess it is all part of soccer but what is your personal view on this?

A: It is an interesting point you have. Our team’s organizational play was quite significant today. We carried out several organizational plays and I believe this was made possible as a result of our finely-tuned practice through our daily training. I think the personal play was made amongst the organizational play today.

Q: With regard to the mindset of players, I believe that fact that they were able to continuously carry out what they were doing despite losing a goal in the first half shows the confidence the players have about the team. They are capable of playing their soccer patiently even when they are lagging behind and being attacked fiercely. Do you feel that your team is developing and improving?

A: During the half time break, I told my team that they don’t have to change their way even though our opponent team was ahead of us. What I said to them was not a motivation booster but what I truly felt. In fact, we were able to score goals by not changing our way. We didn’t have to change our way even after we scored goals.

Q: With regard to the change of players, you replaced Koroki but left Muto and the team scored the third goal after that. What were your criteria for making that decision.

A: We had a conversation on the bench over which player, whether Koroki or Muto, needs to be replaced. Since Muto had executed a similar counter attack on the left side just before the discussion took place and was performing really well today, I decided to give Koroki a chance to rest. I also made the decision with the upcoming Emperor’s Cup match in mind.
As for Moriwaki, since he hadn’t played for a long time, I replaced him with another player first as I suspected it would be hard for him to perform for 90 minutes solidly. In terms of Nagasawa, I replaced him in order to give him a rest. With regard to Andrew, I decided to have him in the match in order to press our opponent. As a result, the team created a flow that led to Muto’s spectacular goal scoring that exited our fans and supporters.

Q: The team created many opportunities by performing so well during the first half though your opponent team scored the opening goal. In the past, the team would have struggled to continue to keep up their good performance when that would have happened. However, the match took a different path today. With you now leading the team, it seems that the game the team plays has started to develop differently. Could you please share your thoughts on this as well as about Muto?

A: The players are now more absorbent of what I convey to them during training. But not only that they have become more capable of embodying the points I convey to them. With regard to Muto, I felt that he was somewhat lacking in confidence or physical condition when I joined the team. Despite his abundant stamina, he was not able to make the most of his potential. For this reason, I asked him to play more bravely. I think he has now started to become capable of doing that.

Q: The offensive play the team carried out for first 30 minutes of the match seemed very different from the soccer Urawa Reds previously played. It seemed as though Urawa Reds’ mentality was something similar to Kashima Antlers’. What are your thoughts on this?

A: It is difficult for me to compare the current status of Urawa Reds with its past. When I was given the offer to work for Urawa Reds, I started to check the players’ track record and characteristics and applied them into the training I run on the ground. By doing so, I see improvement in players like Muto and Kashiwagi. I see improvements in not only those individuals but also their organizational plays. With regard to the match we had today, Muto’s fine individual play was made possible as a result of fine organizational play. I trust that individual players can shine when the team can carry out good organizational play.

Let me add one more personal comment. When I was working for Kashima Antlers, we won so many titles over that five years. During that time, we had many good matches against Urawa Reds and our position of being Urawa’s competitive rival stated to stand out. However, I came to the match as Kashima’s rival today. The match has significance not only because our team gained three points by winning the match but also by the fact that we won against a very high quality team.

One thing, however, I want to make clear is that I don’t wish you to think I regard today’s victory to be particularly noteworthy because of the fact that I used to work for Kashima Antlers. Afterall, Kashima Antlers is also one of our opponent teams. The pleasure I get by winning today’s match is the same with any other matches we win. I do respect Kashima Antlers and I have many friends in Kashima. I worked with them together. In fact, five starting line-up members Kashima had today started their careers at Kashima at the same time as I started. However, these facts don’t make today’s victory special. I certainly have affectionate feelings towards Kashima Antlers, but this doesn’t make our victory particularly celebratory.
As I now work for Urawa Reds, the passion I have towards Urawa Reds and its players are above anything else. I will continue to do as much as possible in order to build a great team to win a title. In addition, I don’t have any negative feelings about Kashima Antlers because of the rivalry Urawa Reds has with Kashima. I would like to cheer Kashima and wish them the best for the ACL match they play on Wednesday.

I carry out my work at Urawa Reds wholeheartedly. The passion I have for the club, players and our supporters is very strong. Those players who play in front of our fans and supporters with their Urawa Reds uniform on must run hard and perform well. This was what I wanted to make clear to you.

Today’s match was a memorable match without any negative feelings against anyone. I have worked for 25 different teams across the world to date, 14 of them were in Brazil. For this reason, when I was working in Brazil, every match we played was against my old team. I have made friends in every club. I am the only team manager who has led eight teams in the so called Big 4 such as in Sao Paulo and Rio. Namely, Corinthians Paulista, São Paulo FC, Santos FC, SE Palmeiras, Vasco da Gama, Fluminense FC, Flamengo and Botafogo FC. I have many good friends in every team in San Paulo, Brazil. However, I represent the team whose uniform I am in when a match is played. But, I don’t hide the fact that Kashima Antlers holds a special place in my heart. Thank you for your kind attention.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Kashima Antlers