Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki – press conference after the match against FC Tokyo  

Comment from Team Manager Otsuki after the Meiji Yasuda J1 League 33rd sec match against FC Tokyo

We finished the match today by gaining one point in this away stadium which was filled with a sense of tension. It would have been better had we been able to finish the match by gaining three points. But, looking at the current J. League standings, the one point we gained today helps us to build up our record. For this reason, I feel relieved that we didn’t finish the match with zero points. It was good that we gained one point but gaining three points would have been better. Either way, we had a very difficult match today.

Questions and Answers

Q: You changed the team members a little from the previous AFC Champions League final second leg match. What was your intention? How do you evaluate your team members’ performance today including Martinus?

A: In my opinion, I changed our team members quite significantly for today’s match. Since I took over the leadership of the team, our players have built up their skills considerably. For example, Martinus started as a wing player and it was difficult for him to assume the position he was currently in. However, he worked really hard especially from after our Emperor’s Cup match against Mito Holly Hock held last summer, he started to perform like he did today. Due to some restrictions based on a regulation, he was not able to register himself to play in the AFC Champions League. However, he has always had a strong desire to play in official matches. He had such a strong determination to play in today’s match held after the ACL.

Our team was able to restart the match today as we had practiced during our training. It was great that Yamanaka kicked the ball as he did today and Martinus followed through to nail the goal today. I feel what our team went through during training paid off. They performed really well today.

As for other players, some were not fully apt for playing for the entire 90 minutes due to reasons such as having a leg cramp. Nonetheless, our players such as Moriwaki and Kashiwagi showed their devotion for the team and played hard for the team. I am so grateful for their attitude.

The reason I changed our team members for today’s match was not because those who played for the ACL Final were not good or those who didn’t play today were bad. I select our team members based on different situations such as ACL would require players with more physical strength in order to utilize their skills etc. I believe the members I selected for today’s match were excellent. It would have been best had we been able to score one more goal.

Q: The content of the match was very different from the first half and the second half today. What kind of corrections did you make during half time and how did your team members change in this regard?

A: The reason why the content was different was not just because we changed our way but also how our opponent team played as well. During the first half of the match, our opponent team intercepted our corner kicks and free kicks over a short period of 15 to 20 minutes. As I recognized some space created for us to get the ball under the same circumstance, I told the team that we could better control the match if we would be able to utilize such space during the second half of the match.

Another point to note is that since FC Tokyo players were zipping up from the beginning of the match, they couldn’t last long. It would have been a miracle had they been able to maintain their strong performance all the way through to the second half of the match. For this reason, I told the team that our opponent players’ performance would ease off. It was good that they eased off as we had anticipated.

Q: Considering the results from other matches, as long as your team won’t finish the last sec match with more than a 10 point margin, Urawa Reds would remain in the top 16 teams in the J1 League. How did you feel about having fought for remaining the J1 League?

A: As I am yet to review the other match results properly, I will confirm those details after this press conference. As for battling for securing our position in the J1 League, our team was focused on winning the title of the big championship until last week. Against such a background, our team had to control ourselves well to balance the ACL matches and J. League matches. Our scenario would have been different, had we been able to perform well consistently and win every match by a big margin. However, we could not perform as we had hoped. As such, we struggled when we were not able to win matches and could not gain any points as a result. However, our players participated in training sincerely in order to overcome such difficulties as you saw today. As the end of the season approaches, some might find it difficult to fully commit themselves for the team. But, for this reason, I was grateful for their attitude. Our players put their individual feelings behind and put the team and our fans and supporters first. They always put those first when they participate in our training. I feel so grateful for being able to witness this. I feel so thankful for them.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki – press conference after the match against FC Tokyo