Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki – press conference after the match against Nagoya Grampus  

Comment from Team Manager Otsuki after the Meiji Yasuda J1 League 21st Sec match against Nagoya Grampus

I am very regretful that our team only gained two points from our last two matches by drawing our home match today and our previous match last Wednesday.

We lost a goal soon after the match started today. We couldn’t play as we aimed to play during the first half of the match. Though our players made a push during the second half of the match, looking at how our team played today, I felt the strong need that we must work hard to play the type of match we want to play and prevent our opponent teams from performing well.

Questions and Answers

Q: We were surprised to see what had happened to your team during the first half of the match. I am sure you gave the team a kick up the backside for their performance during half time. What do you think was the reason for the team starting the match as they did today?

A: I must review the team’s performance properly again but what went through my mind on my way to the press conference here was this. During our previous match against Kashima Antlers, there was a moment where our team could have lost a goal from a corner kick one minute after the match started. Since we had experienced a similar scenario two times in a row, I am afraid that we are not vigilant enough and we must give it more serious thought on how we would approach the match including our warm up before the match.

Even though we didn’t lose a goal last time, we did lose the goal this time. Following that, there were times when our players were not fully being able to control the ball in terms of how they moved the ball and where they were taking the ball. We must improve our performance in this regard.

Q: Just like the previous match against Kashima Antlers, your team caught up with the opponent team towards the end of the match. In a way, this can be regarded as something rather positive as your team members worked hard and held out for the equalizer rather than losing the match. How do you evaluate the goal your team scored at the very end of the match?

A: It was good that our team scored one point rather than zero. However, I certainly want our team to get three points. When our team plays like we did today and during the last match against Kashima and only managed to catch up with our opponent at the end of the match, it is not possible for us to increase the number of points we get from one to three. So we must work hard to keep the overall match under our control.

Having said that, I must say I am pleased that our players didn’t give up on themselves until the end. They also tried to move forward rather than falling over even when they jostled against the other team. I always tell them not to fall over when they run into each other and in the penalty area. However, I feel regrettable for myself as I was unable to lead the team to gain three points. We want to work harder during our training to make sure we can get three points by winning our next match.

Q: It was mentioned that your team held out during the second half of the match. But, in my opinion, I thought your team bounced back even during the first half of the match. I was able to see that your team’s physical activity level increased, and players were moving forward to get the ball and to receive passes. What do you think about this?

A: After our team lost the second goal, we had a water break and I had a little talk with our players in front of the bench. During that time, one of the players asked me if he was going from the front well in sync with the movements of the players at the back. I told him that he was doing fine. I told the team that it was important for the players at the back to react accordingly to the front players and those at the front need to make attacks from the front. I told them that though the opponent team was leading the match with the result of two to zero, the result of the match would depend on whether our players could play as we discussed or not.

In fact, I told the team to focus on executing what they had prepared themselves for rather than dwell on the point that they lost the goal very early on in the match and that there were only three days to prepare for the match since our previous match etc. However, I thought they seemed to have had something that was bothering them on their minds.

Having said that, they are capable of catching up with the opponent by the margin of two goals. As such, I want to work hard with them so that they can be confident and mentally strong to gain three points by winning a match rather than finishing it off with one point.

Q: It was Sekine’s third match since he came back to the team. I thought he held on well until the end of the match today. What was your impression?

A: He had a breakthrough and scored a goal at the very end of the match. It was something to be noted. He was able to nail the opportunity after he had a little moment with the referee. However, our team allowed our opponent team a chance to score a goal right after the match started today. I am not suggesting that Sekine needs to work more but I want all of the team members to improve further. I feel it is necessary for us to go back to the basics and train ourselves well. Luckily, we have one week between matches this time. We will work hard on our training again. As for Sekine, I think he is making a hard effort.

I feel that the atmosphere that our spectators create in this stadium is helping us enormously. I truly feel this way. I am not sure how everyone in the press feels about the stadium atmosphere, but I want to fight together with my team and our spectators in this stadium again. The home match we played today made me feel how special it is and how lucky we are to be able to play in this stadium. Thank you again for your continued support.


Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki – press conference after the match against Nagoya Grampus