Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki – press conference after the match against Cerezo Osaka  

Comment from Team Manager Otsuki after the Meiji Yasuda J1 League 26th Sec match against Cerezo Osaka

It was regrettable that we were not able to score our second goal and that we couldn’t reset the match after one of our players was sent off from the pitch which followed with a free kick. I regret not only these points but also how the entire match had flowed today. Though we will be playing in a different championship match next, we want to do well so that we can gain good momentum for our following match.

Questions and Answers

Q: When Abe was sent off from the pitch, you replaced Koroki with Shibato. What was your intention?

A: I wanted our team to score another goal by then, but it didn’t happen. I thought that if we didn’t have firm back line, we wouldn’t be able to put good pressure on the two center backs and the defensive mid-fielder. That was why I put Shibato in. I also wanted to tighten the middle too.

Q: With regard to putting Shibato into the team, I imagine you had to contemplate who would replace Shibato namely whether it would be Koroki or Muto. Can you tell us why you choose Koroki? Please also tell us what you thought about Shibato not being able to tighten up the middle and the team eventually losing another goal.

A: It was unfortunate that we couldn’t make the most of the header opportunity we created. When the player was getting back to the center, our team was under our opponent’s continuous attacks. It would have been good had our team been able to move to the side. This was one thing that I feel was regrettable.

Another point was that just before our team lost another goal when our left side was attacked in a triangle, we should have pulled ourselves back and braced ourselves at the defense line.

Q: I trust that the team has been working to improve themselves to address the challenges they face during matches. But, I also believe that while some challenges can be addressed through their training, other challenges need to be dealt with on the spot during a match based on individual judgement and they are hard to be addressed easily through training sessions. What do you think the issues are that have been affecting the team and have led to the current result of the team?

A: Since our team hasn’t achieved the result we are hoping to achieve, there are certainly some issues I want our team to address in certain ways. However, when it comes to individual player’s judgement as you raised in your question, if I started to talk about it, it would sound as though I am blaming our players for our results and I do not wish to do that. When it comes to our team’s result, I must take full responsibility and I will continue to take it fully. What I am thinking right now is that there is no use in bending down our heads and feeling depressed about our result. For this reason, I want to put all my strength into what we do and keep continue to work hard again. Having said that, it is true that there are certain things that our players and I are currently not being able to perform to our full potential. For this reason, I want work hard together with them to be able to gain some tangible results for ourselves.

Q: I thought that your team’s performance was rather half-baked until you lost the first goal. But, it seemed as thought it was lucky that the team lost the goal as your players, particularly those on the sides who mainly made only back passes during the first half of the match, were woken up by it and started to play so well together with Ogiwara after you put him into the team. What do you think about this?

A: I am not sure if I would regard losing the first goal as a lucky development for us. But, as I knew the reason why our side players made many back passes during the first half of the match, I pointed that out to our players during half time. For this reason, you must have noticed the difference in our players’ performance between the first half and second half. Another point was that since Cerezo Osaka was playing the match at a higher position from the first half of the match, I believe this created some space on the side too. Ogiwara’s position adds strength to our team. As such, it would have been nice had more space been created so that our team could have used it to our advantage before we lost the second goal. Nonetheless, I believe Ogiwara was able to perform well today. I think that the little differences that were created such as the position of their ball passes etc. made our players perform differently and made it possible for them to carry out attacks in the front rather than making many back passes etc.

Q: Your team will play an important match in your home stadium next, what kind of match do you want to play for your fans and supporters?

A: In order for us to move to the next round, we must play a good match. I have just spoken to my team that we must start doing what we can do immediately such as making a good recovery. After having gone through what we can do, we will come back to our stadium on Tuesday to perform well again.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki – press conference after the match against Cerezo Osaka