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

Comment from Team Manager Oliveira after the Emperor’s Cup JFA 98th Japan Football Championship semifinal match against Kashima Antlers

Good evening everyone.

We had a very difficult match today. Kashima Antlers is a fantastic team. I commended Kashima’s team manager Go Oiwa as we played during the match for the great work he had done for the team in the J. League, ACL and the Emperor’s Cup championships. Our team fought through the match with a few players being replaced. But, as both teams were pulling out such great performances, I wasn’t sure which team was better whether playing for the ACL or J. League. By fighting against such a great team, our team was able to win the match and advance to the final round today. Today’s victory was truly a valuable outcome for us.

However, as for the condition of the pitch we had today, it was so irregular that the ball sometimes got caught or changed its direction during the match. During the second half of the match Kashima Antlers players tried to press by passing the ball through. But, they were not able to connect the ball well due to the pitch condition. I trust this hindered their play. As this was the case, Kashima created their chances through high balls and strikes from free kicks and corner kicks.

Nonetheless, we had a match filled with a sense of much tension worthy of a match played by two big Japanese teams. Either team could have won the match today. Kashima had created three clearly decisive opportunities during the first half of the match. However, in the end, Urawa Reds was the one that was able to nail the opportunities we had created. For this reason, I would like to commend our players for their great performance. We were able to withstand the Kashima Antlers’ pressing attacks by fighting against them solidly until the very end of the match.

Questions and Answers

Q: How do you think the condition of the three injured players would affect the final match?

A: I told Muto and Koroki to spend their time with our conditioning coordinator Alex until the final match. He is a dedicated staff member specialized in ankle treatment. If required, we will have Muto and Koroki stay in an accommodation so that he can stay with Alex to receive his treatment throughout the night for their recovery.

I have told our players that they must remain focused to achieve our goal. Once the final match is over, everyone will have a break. It is important for us to do our very best until then. We must do everything we can. The recovery treatment for Muto and Koroki is the same. I want them to recover well for the final match. However, if it won’t be possible, we have Shibato, Lee and Abe as our options. They did a great job during the match against FC Tokyo. They even scored some goals too. They also played in the match today by taking over the role of the injured players. I am confident that they will fulfil the very difficult tasks in the final match which will be even more valuable than the goals they scored in the match against FC Tokyo.

Q: Kashima Antlers are able to achieve tangible results even with 11 different members playing. What do you think is the backbone for this?

A: There were six Kashima Antlers’ players whom I trained playing on the pitch today. There were another six players off the pitch whom I also trained. The team is led by a very competitive team manager Go Oiwa who makes winning the title of ACL possible. Along side the ACL matches, the team played well and won the matches against teams like Hokkaido Consadole and Kashiwa Reysol. It was such an honor for me to have been associated with such a team.

Looking at the match they played in the ACL and the J. League, they performed so well in both that it was hard to distinguish which match was the J. League match. While the team played in the ACL for four years under my leadership, we were unfortunately not able to achieve the result. However, the team won the title of ACL this year under Technical Director Zico and Team Manager Go. I would like to honor their great achievement. They will now challenge the FIFA Club World Cup(CWC)again which they won second place in their previous challenge. The fact that they are going to play the CWC championship shows the results of the efforts everyone in the club made including their staff members. I will cheer and wish Kashima Antlers best for the CWC match.

[Urawa Reds Official Media(URD:OM)]

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