Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Vissel Kobe  

Comment from Team Manager Oliveira after the Meiji Yasuda J1 League 8th sec match against Vissel Kobe

If you ask for the name of anyone who needs good recovery after today’s match, that would be me (lol). We had a very tough match today. However, thanks to our players’ courage, discipline and hard work, we were able to win the match today. We were able to score a goal in good timing with the formation we thought would work well for us. But, a very hard task was waiting for us following that. More precisely, our team had to keep defending ourselves against a high-quality team who kept attempting scoring goals. It was worthy of praise that our team was able to defend ourselves well against them today. The winning three points we gained today were so valuable.

Questions and Answers

Q: As for your team’s defense, your team seemed to have struggled to press your opponent and to mark their players at the back. It looked as though the team was put under pressure by Vissel Kobe and that continued on until the end of the match. Given this, how would you analyze your team’s performance and what kind of corrections will you try to make?

A: That’s right. We were not able to press our opponent at the front. But, I think we marked the back well. I also think our players did a good job defending the team in the penalty area during one-on-one battles around the ball. I would like to commend our defense players for this.
I am afraid that I said this during a post-match press conference before but it becomes difficult for defense players if front line players cannot act as a filter to reduce the number of attacks coming from the opponent team. As far as today’s match is concerned, our defense players had managed to thwart many attacks coming from our opponent team and they did a good job defending the team. For this reason, I would like to praise our defense players.

Q: Vissel Kobe’s attacks were not terrifying today and your team let Kobe’s players lose in the mid-field. Was it because your team was confident that you would definitely win the match in the end?

A: With regard to defense, I always envisage three things. Those who come to observe us in our training field must often see us do this but firstly it is important to stop our opponent’s goal kicks. We mark opponent players tightly so that they cannot pass the ball amongst themselves tactfully. However, we could not do this well throughout the match today though we did better in the second half.

Secondly, we must press the opponent’s team in order to stop them from building up the game. We must defend ourselves from them coming into our side by pressing the team. During today’s match, our team was not able to do this well especially in the first half of the match. There have been matches we did this very well. Things got better in the second half but we had to change players in a way I didn’t plan. Changing Hashioka was not part of my original game plan. As a result of the change of players, we were not able to press our opponent well from the front as I originally anticipated.

Thirdly, we must defend ourselves by forming a bloc when our opponent players are in our side of the pitch. I think Makino, Mauricio, Moriwaki and Aoki did a fantastic job doing this today. I think the reason that our opponent’s attacks seemed slow was because of our good defense. I couldn’t find any fault with their defense. I believe it was not because our opponent players didn’t do a good job but our players didn’t let them attack us well.

Q: Could you tell us about Hashioka and Ewerton’s injuries?

A: Unfortunately, I am yet to have detailed information. Actually, Ewerton requested to be replaced as he felt restricted in his movements because of the bruise he had before the match and he was afraid that he might injure himself further had he kept going. I trust he will recover after some rest and treatment.

As for Hashioka, he was suffering from much harder pain and he couldn’t continue to play. As this was the case, we had him examined and we must wait for the result of his examination to come through.

Q: Iniesta didn’t play in today’s match. Your team won the match against Vissel Kobe today but would you have been happier if your team won the match with Iniesta also playing in the match?

A: He must not like the idea of playing in Urawa (lol). He didn’t come to Urawa to play against us last year either. Had I been given a choice, I would play against Vissel Kobe without Iniesta playing. He is a great player. Moreover, I would rather play a match with him as a member of our team rather than our opponent’s.

Having said that, we had prepared ourselves with the assumption that he would be playing in the match. For this reason, had he played in the match, we had measures against this. Through Vissel Kobe didn’t have Iniesta today, Samper did a great job today. He handled the ball really well and was playing in a very calm manner. I think he is fitting himself in well with Japanese soccer. Samper was forming the team well at the back as a link and I found that he was difficult to mark.

Q: I want to point out some positive aspects of the team. Moriwaki was passing the ball well by pushing himself forward today especially during the first half of the match. He seems to be doing well during this season but what are your thoughts on this? Compared to Moriwaki, Makino who is on the other side didn’t seem to push himself forward even though he is usually an aggressive player. Was it part of your plan that Makino would stay back while making Moriwaki come forward?

A: It is a very good observation. You are paying attention to a good point. When I came to Japan to join the team, Moriwaki was suffering from an injury. Since I knew him well when he was playing for Sanfrecce Hiroshima, I was aware that he is a good defense player while he can wage high-quality attacks. However, he didn’t recover fully before he played another match and was receiving medical treatment repeatedly as a result. As such, I am sure he had a very difficult season last year.

However, he recovered fully before the season started. Since our training camp held in Okinawa, he has participated in every training session we have had to date. He has been doing well both in offense and defense as he has been training himself well.

Q: You said earlier that you are trying to make the team to be capable of playing up to 70 matches over a season. Given, the hard schedule the team has, how well do you think your team has been doing in terms of their competitiveness and available players?

A: I have been having the discussion with my team members every day. We must also pay good attention to those players on the bench as well as those who are not the regular members. We had training for our irregular members today and we have another training tomorrow for our reserve and irregular members. We must work carefully to increase the level of their conditions so that they are fully ready to play well when they are needed for the team.

Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Vissel Kobe