Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Yokohama F・Marinos  

Comment from Team Manager Oliveira after the Meiji Yasuda J1 League 6th sec match against Yokohama F・Marinos

We had a very unfortunate match today. As we struggled at the beginning of the match to have good defense and to provide effective marking as we usually do, we lost a goal at a very early stage. As a result, we had a very unstable game today.

Questions and Answers

Q: After your opponent team scored the first goal, your team struggled to perform well both in offense and defense. The team was not able to restore themselves well either. But, how were you thinking to restore the team as a team manager?

A: Our team has been training for that type of scenario and we had been able to defend ourselves well against a team with highly skilled players such as Cerezo Osaka. However, we failed to perform to our standard today. We had good training and I prepared the team for the match by making them aware of what kind of match they should expect to face. However, we were not able to execute what we had prepared ourselves for well today.

Q: At the beginning of the match, there seemed to have been some kind of confusion in terms of your team’s defense and offense. As for the defense line, the team had only Aoki at the front while Yokohama F. Marinos had two, which seemed a little mismatch.

A: Our defense line was not the only thing that should be blamed. Our opponent had a three top system today. The reason why they were successful today is not only to do with the defense line we had but also how we defended ourselves. Our team was not able to execute our defense tactics as well as they used to, such as marking and pressing the front line and obstructing our opponent players moves. As a result, our defense line had to take the weight today.

Q: I feel that the team’s defense decided the result of the match today. Yokohama F. Marinos executed all the basics of defense well today such as going after the ball holder and marking pass ball receivers etc. I am afraid that Urawa Reds struggled to wage good attacks as your opponent team did everything they needed to in terms of their defense.

A: It is very hard to explain why a team loses. I do not want to name names to give explanations as to why our team lost today. I want to focus on how our team did as a team.

I do not want to make any specific criticisms during a press conference either. Certainly, I point out what went wrong during our team meetings, but I want to keep them only within our team.

After all, players are also humans. If their motivations are diminished, that will have a negative effect on them in the next match they play. As we need them for the next match, I don’t wish to do anything that would adversely affect their productivity.

I regard our players as my sons. For this reason, I give my feedback internally, but I don’t wish to criticize them publicly.

Urawa Reds is going through a transition period at the moment. New players are making progress to fit into the team. Those players who returned to the team after recovering from their injuries are also making efforts to get themselves back into good conditions. We are still at a half way point in terms of our team building. Today, things became a little unstable and unfortunately didn’t go well in the end. We were not able to execute our game plan well today.

Q: As your team started to play in a four-back formation from the previous match, I am afraid that they are yet to be able to perform well naturally as your players are still trying to work out this new formation.

A: If our team suffered like we did today when we played our last match against FC Tokyo, I could say your concern is right. However, our team conquered the FC Tokyo match well with the four-back system even though we lost a goal. For this reason, what happened today was that we failed to do what we did well before. I trust you all saw how our team played with the four-back system in our previous match against FC Tokyo. But, things didn’t work out well and we were not able to execute our game plan today.

Q: What was your intention of changing the position of Kashiwagi and Ewerton?

A: I changed their positions as I wanted to have the best system for our mid-fielders. Of course, this arrangement can change according to our opponent. Since our players are capable of playing both in the middle and sides, I don’t think this position change had any negative impact on the team’s formation.

Q: Urawa Reds players failed to provide quick defense to your opponent’s attacks. Was that because the attacks from Yokohama F. Marinos were quicker than the team anticipated?

A: It was not so much of the speed of our opponent’s attacks but more to do with how our front-line defended. Since the defense at our front-line didn’t work out well, our defenders were exposed and couldn’t respond quickly enough.

Q: When the goal keeper of Yokohama F. Marinos kicked the ball, your team responded to this with a one-on-one defense approach today, which seemed different from your usual approach. Was that intentional? If so, what was your intention?

A: We tried to have the same defense approach as we did for our Cerezo Osaka match today as Yokohama F. Marinos has a similar play style as Cerezo Osaka. However, at the risk of repeating myself, we were not able to do what we did well in our other matches today.

Q: Soon after the season started, Urawa Reds lost their home match against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo but the team picked themselves up quickly and did well in the important AFC Champions League match that followed. As for the team’s next match, your team will play an ACL match against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors Football Club which I trust is the strongest team in the group. How will you get your team to pick themselves up quickly?

A: I was actually just talking about the next match with our staff members. I agree that Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors is a very strong team. To prepare ourselves well for the match, I think we need to run what we call in Brazil pajama training.
Pajama training is where we focus on the good recovery of our players by prioritizing rest over physical training. I feel this is what our team needs to do in terms of our preparation for our Tuesday match.

Q: I understand that the team has to work hard as a team and move around the pitch as a whole but some of the players seemed to have moved only partly or gave up half way through.

A: I don’t wish to name names to single out particular players here.

Q: I know Urawa Reds is capable of playing excellent soccer. For this reason, how the match turned out today was a big shock to me. I guess we have to admit that Yokohama F. Marinos did a fantastic job.

A: You are right. We need to recognize their true value. Yokohama F. Marinos did such a good job. Given how our team performed today, there was a big gap between the two teams today. Yokohama F. Marinos’s performance was of very high-quality.

Q: I know that Urawa Reds can exceed Yokohama F. Marinos’s performance when everything goes smoothly in their coordination. For this reason, I was surprised to see how things turned out today.

A: I guess our team could have exceeded in their performance had we had everything working in good coordination. I trust that we are able to perform like you have just described but there are times that things don’t work out perfectly.

I hope to make our next press conference a happier one.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Oswaldo Oliveira – press conference after the match against Yokohama F・Marinos