Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Kashiwa Reysol  

Comment from Team Manager Oliveira after the Meiji Yasuda J1 League 28th Sec match against Kashiwa Reysol

We had a very difficult match. Kashiwa Reysol did a great job today. Kashiwa Reysol has a number of high-level players and I thought they pulled out the highest performance ever shown during this season. They used Olunga well as a target. In the end, the pitch condition worked out to be more advantageous to our opponent. Urawa Reds is a team that aims to move and connect the ball around. However, it was difficult for us to do so since the ball sometimes rolled away as a result of the pitch being wet and the ball getting stuck in a paddle of water.

Questions and Answers

Q: After Urawa Reds scored the third goal to lead the match with three to two, you decided to introduce Shibato. How did you intend to finish the match by introducing him?

A: Observing the recent matches played by Kashiwa Reysol, I was aware that Olunga could be very dangerous when he is in the penalty area. Kashiwa Reysol players could pass him the ball from the side directly or by way of other players such as Cristiano.

As we led the match, one of my intentions was to increase the number of mid fielders to prevent our opponent from making their attacks from its source. Certainly, another intention was to stop our opponents delivering crosses. One of the goals we lost today was from a cross.

Q: During the first half of the match, it looked like you were instructing Nagasawa to move forward more.

A: Nagasawa originally takes a more aggressive role. You may regard him as a defensive mid-fielder. However, I regard him as an attacker. He is highly capable of making attacks. He scored a goal not only during today’s match but also our previous match as well. He could have scored another goal when our team was leading the match with two to one.

Personally, I don’t like to label players as a defensive mid-fielder or a center-back etc. Certainly, Nagasawa takes a defensive role. However, he can take an aggressive role and I am having him bring out his ability in that regard. He was away for some time due to his injury. But, now that he is regaining his condition back, I am asking him to exert his ability to the extent he can.

Q: During the first half of the match, the team’s right side was not so efficient. However, the right side was revitalized in the second half and goals were scored from the right side. How did you correct this?

A: It happens sometimes that individual players’ instability or inexperience would prevail through. For example, Hashioka was a little unsettled which we say in Brazil “his moves were faster than the ball”. As this was the case, he was required to play in a calmer manner.

Q: The movements of the players and the ball were so smooth that sometimes the ball was moved naturally to the front-line player who was free. This is something that is hard to see among other teams’ players. What do you think of Urawa Reds players executing such combination plays for their attacks?

A: I think Kawasaki Frontale is also good at that. They are the team deserving to take the top rank at the J. League standings. As for us, we have lots of training. As for the front-line players, I requested them to defend themselves from the front as well. When our team players take the ball away from our opponent, they move the ball amongst themselves. As a result, they can carry out the combination players as you saw today. Players such as Kashiwagi, Muto and Koroki are not only skillful but also smart. Those very high-level players are making such plays possible. When you see something special resulting from such plays, what I have just explained is perhaps the reason.

Q: Looking at Urawa Reds’ offense, the speed at which they pass the ball 15 to 20 meters in distance is so fast even in comparison with Kawasaki
Frontale which I trust helps the ball move forward. Having said that, when you were leading Kashima Antlers, I didn’t think you were after such a high speed from your players. Does the difference come from the difference in the players or your way of thinking?

A: There are many reasons behind this. When I was with Kashima Antlers, many opponent teams were playing defensive soccer by withdrawing behind to protect themselves. For this reason, we didn’t have many opportunities where we were able to move forward quickly. However, many of the teams that play against Urawa Reds play an aggressive style of soccer. As a result, when our team takes the ball they can quickly switch off from defense to offense to create a decisive moment quickly.

Q: The team had the system they had today in the previous match against Vissel Kobe as well. Did you think the system would work best for the team as it worked so well for them in the previous match?

A: The baseline is to use the best conditioned players for the match. For example, though Fabrício was not able to play in many matches, he was capable of exerting a sense of presence aggressively in the penalty area. As he is currently absence, I had to think of how I can make our team’s offense work effectively. Since all the J. League opponent teams have good forward players, I came to the conclusion that we should not let our defense loose when making offensive attacks.
When we had Fabrício, he took the role of coming into the penalty area directly from near-by to waging attacks. However, the system we had today required Nagasawa to move into the penalty area from behind by assessing the best timing to do so. Though the two approaches are different, the end goal of entering the penalty area remains the same.

Q: I thought the two goals Urawa Reds lost today were very unnecessary.

A: As for one of the goals we lost today, we had practiced a lot not to let that happen. The other one was as a result of the team not stopping the flow at midfield even though we could have done so.

Certainly, we should commend our swift and smart opponent players who were able to hit our flaws and scored the goals today.

Anyhow, as the typhoon is approaching, let’s go home early (lol). Otherwise, those of you who travelled here from afar may not be able to catch a train back home.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Kashiwa Reysol