Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Sagan Tosu  

Comment from Team Manager Oliveira after the Emperor’s Cup JFA 98th Japan Football Championship quarterfinal match against Sagan Tosu

Our team did very well during the first half of the match. We created a lot of scoring opportunities and scored two goals out of those opportunities created. As for the second half, though we made some decisive chances, we were not able to make the most of those chances created. Leading the match with two to nil during the first half and the other teams ’match results from the Cup matches played last weekend may be one of the reasons that our team started to lose some momentum in the second half. We were not able to score any goals in the second half. Having said that, generally speaking, I believe the team was able to pull out a high-quality performance today.

Questions and Answers

Q: I thought the team lacked speed in their offensive play up until Shibato joined the team. Considering the members’ fatigue, what kind of instructions did you give to the team during half time?

A: Since our opponent team was also trying to wage attacks against us, our team’s play was obstructed in a way. Given the ongoing strong marking by our opponent team, I am satisfied that our team scored two goals during the first half of the match. During half time, I instructed the team to continue with their play by not breaking the pattern without allowing themselves to lose the tension by feeling content with the two goals we scored.
However, they became somewhat loose after a player from our opponent team was sent off from the pitch not to mention as a result of the fatigue our players were suffering.

Q: Can you comment on your thoughts on Shibato? You also put Martinus to left wing-back position today. I believe he can get even better when he can run. Was that your intention?

A: I am now trying to persuade Martinus. Considering how our team plays and given his characteristics such as his speed and skills for ball passes and dribbling, he will definitely be suitable to assume the position as long as he can improve his marking and defense and by learning about positioning. I put him to the left-wing position today with the consideration of having him for the position in future. Since Kikuchi sustained an injury and Hashioka and Ogiwara are often away to join the U-19 national team, I want Martinus to learn to be able to assume that position when required.

With regard to Shibato, he is a young player who is on the development path. He is a player of high quality and capability who can play well. In addition, he has youthful passion. For this reason, he can be put into a few different positions. By giving not only Shibato but also Ogiwara some opportunities to gain experience, I hope to see them develop and mature further. By doing so, I believe they will be able to play in matches more frequently and for longer periods when they are required.

Q: When Urawa Reds played against Sagan Tosu, the team scored no goals. During the match today, it seemed as though the team was trying to wage attacks against their opponent team by using the center field rather than just utilizing the sides. Was that something the team trained to do intentionally through their training practice this time?

A: That’s right. As for the goal, our team scored a goal during the previous match in reality. However, it wasn’t recognized. There was no mention of the goal scored by our team on the official record as the referees ruled out that goal. But, the fact of the matter was that we scored a goal previously and our team has developed even further from then. However, Sagan Tosu has been doing better as well. They did very well during their recent match against Vegalta Sendai. They were playing well today as well. Against such a growing team, Sagan Tosu, Urawa Reds pulled out a great performance today and this highlights the fact that we are also developing well.

Q: I believe achieving a good result for today’s one-shot match will have a positive impact on Urawa Reds for the remaining J. League matches. What do you think?

A: I think so, too. Our team was able to move one step forward by winning the Cup match today. We can play at least one or two more matches as a result. The season which would have ended on 1 December is now extended to 16 December. Depending on how we will perform, it can be extended to up until 24 December. Considering the impact it will have on the team’s maturity, these periods are of great significance to the team. When the number of days the team spends on practice as well as on playing serious matches increase, this will benefit the development of the team. This is very important for us. When I came to Japan to join the team on 20 April, the season had already started. For this reason, though the season is coming to end soon, the more time we can spend together as a team will be better.

Q: I hope the team will make it to the final.

A: We will try to do exactly that.

Q: The team performed fantastically during the first half of the previous match played against Kashima Antlers. Is it difficult to continue to perform consistently like that?

A: Compared to the Kashima match, our team’s performance today might have been one level lower. However, it wasn’t bad as we played well during the first half and scored goals. The fact that we had two matches over a short period of time also had some impact. I focused on the recovery of our players between the two matches. Our team stayed in a hotel from the three days before the match this time. By doing so, I created an environment where our players could access medical staff 24 hours a day if necessary in order to enhance their recovery. Since today’s match was played shortly after we played a tough, tension-filled match against Kashima Antlers towards the end of the season, it was natural for the team’s performance to be a little impaired. Even though that was the case, it wasn’t like we had a bad performance.

Q: Do you know how Kashima Antlers did today?

A: They draw the match with the score of 3 to 3 and won the ticket to the ACL final. I am sending congratulatory texts to all my friends in Kashima Antlers (lol).

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Sagan Tosu