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

Comment from Team Manager Otsuki after the Meiji Yasuda J1 League 34th sec match against Gamba Osaka

So many of our fans and supporters came to the stadium to cheer us for our last match of the season. But, we feel very regrettable that we finished the match with the result of 2 to 3. I feel very mixed about how we played in the first half of the match in particular. We made a little correction during the second half of the match. However, it was a shame that our performance during the first half made the match difficult for us to win. After we lost the first goal, we had an open match. Our team was psyched up to outdo our opponent, but the match turned out to be as it did. It was such a shame that we finished the match as we did.

Questions and Answers

Q: The fact that your team struggled to win many home matches took a toll in terms of the J. League matches. What do you think about this?

A: As you have pointed out, I believe we had to pay the price as a result of not being able to win many of our home matches. We haven’t won any of our home matches following our home match against Shimizu S-Pulse. After we lost our home match against Kawasaki Frontale, we couldn’t perform well in the AFC Champions League final home match either. We did win the match against Sagan Tosu in our home stadium in summer. However, we did struggle to win a number of home matches since the beginning of the season. I must agree with what you have pointed out.

As for today’s match, after we lost the first goal, we were trying to catch up with our opponent. Just like the match we had against Shimizu S-Pulse, we often lost the first goal in many matches. It is regrettable that we couldn’t control the game we played in this regard.

Having said that, as far as the first half of today’s match was concerned, it was not so much the issue of controlling the game but more to do with losing the ball often when we had the ball in our possession and tried to wage attacks against our opponent. I am not quite sure if it was something to do with the match-up or to do more with individual issues such as not screening the ball well, connecting the ball well amongst ourselves and not losing the ball to our opponent players. The fact of the matter was that our players could not carry out these things well. In some matches, we corrected those issues during the second half of the match and we managed to catch up on several occasions. But, what we had to do was to play well from the beginning of the matches we played.

Another point to note is that, as many of you are also aware, our team struggled to carry through to the end to score goals throughout the year just like you saw today that we couldn’t nail the goal even though the ball was in the prime position. Honestly speaking, our team was not able to make improvements in this regard. During today’s match, our team had managed to take the ball to good positions and in areas such as the penalty area. However, we lacked in our precision to nail the goal. The direction the ball went in made a difference in our final scores. But, our team was not able to address this point throughout the season. If our players were able to kick the ball in the right direction, we would have won the match. For this reason, we should have worked to improve our skills in this regard.

Q: You mentioned the other day that you have experienced so match over a short period after you assumed the team manager position. The amount which you believe would equal to what other team leaders would gain over several years under normal circumstances. You assumed the team manager position after the season started and now that all official matches are over, what kind of emotions do you have at this very moment?

A: What I am feeling right now is the feeling of regret. I am regrettable about today’s match and where we stand in the J. League standings. I feel also regretful that though we played the ACL final match here in this stadium, we let the chance of winning the title go when it was so close to us. This is what I am feeling the most right now. However, I am sure that our players are mortified even more so. For this reason, I also question myself as to how I could have made it possible for our team to do better. Given that we played the final match for the season today and that so many fans and supporters came to the stadium to support us, I feel deep regret about our result.

Looking back at the whole season, I took over the team as the team manager in the middle of the season. After I spent two days of training together, I led the team to play against Kawasaki Frontale. Since then, we had an intense period of playing several matches one after another and our team was not able to spend much time for training apart from the national team week. After we recovered from the series of matches we played, the summer came. I thought I sorted out what our team needed to address and we tried to work hard to address our challenges. However, in reality, it took our team members more time to recover than I had anticipated. As this was the case, I utilized those players who were showing some promising developments during training in our matches. I trust I used most of our players and I had hoped that they would perform well. I am glad to see how our players developed over the last few months such as Yamanaka and Martinus who played in the past two matches. Martinus was able to show his strength during the last match and the second half of the match today although his performance during the first half today was not the best.

Having said that, after all what we needed to do was to win the matches we played. However, we were not able to show how we developed as a team fully. I trust that everything would come back to this very point. For this reason, I feel so frustrated and regrettable.

Q: When Urawa Reds President Tachibana gave a few words after the match, he received the loud booing from the crowd. As a member of the team’s leadership, how did you receive the booing yourself?

A: I took it very seriously. Rightfully, it was not just directed to President Tachibana but also to me as well.

Thank you so much for your time over the past one year. There are many faces I recognize in the media. I hope that you will continue to support Urawa Reds. Thank you very much.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

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