Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki – Press Conference after the Match against Sanfrecce Hiroshima  

Comment from Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki after the Meiji Yasuda J1 League 26th Sec Match against Sanfrecce Hiroshima

Our players scored the first goal really nicely today. We wanted to seize this momentum and finish the match with three points by winning. When our opponent started to generate power, we wanted to exploit the space created at the back. However, we couldn’t do so. While we wanted to score another goal, we didn’t wish our opponent team to score any goals.

Towards the end of the match, our team was put under so much pressure by our opponent team. Since Sanfrecce Hiroshima gained so much power as they tried to win the match, it was good that we were able to stop that from happening. However, it would have been great had we been able to make the most of the advantage we had by scoring the first goal to achieve a positive outcome for ourselves.

Having said that, given how powerful Sanfrecce Hiroshima started to play, I wish to recognize the good work done by our players by keeping our score loss to a minimum and gaining one point today. We want to work hard to challenge ourselves to gain three points in our coming matches.

Questions and Answers

Q: You mentioned that you wanted to exploit the space created at the back of the opponent team to your team’s advantage. But, it would have been better had your team been able to nail some of the few additional scoring opportunities they created after taking the lead. I also thought that it would have been better had your team been able to create more scoring opportunities altogether. What do you think?

A: I totally agree with you. We should have created more scoring opportunities. We also should have done better in terms of the transition from defense to offense and been in better control of the ball in general. As for making swift attacks, our movements improved after the first half cooling break. But, I agree that we should have done better in the second half of the match in particular.

Q: Following the cooling break in the first half of the match, your team created some good flow by continually taking the ball from your opponent team at the front line. What kind of instructions did you give to your team?

A: While I recognized our team was able to take the ball at the front as well as from side midfielders, I told the team that they should be able to deliver sliding tackles further back as well as better prepare themselves for pushing the ball forward. In order for the front-line players to get the ball, the ball has to be pushed forward. I thought our players were able to do this well in a compact manner. That was what I instructed our team to do. I was pleased to see they followed up on this. However, it would have been great had our players been able to make more longer kicks that reached the goal area.

Q: Your front-line players had to spend some time in defense to defend the team during the first half of the match. I felt that they wore themselves out as a result and were not able to deliver counter attacks in a sharp manner during the second half. What do you think about this?

A: It’s inevitable that a team is put in both offensive and defensive positions depending on their opponent team’s movements. It wasn’t like we were trying to play a defensive match. But, as I mentioned earlier, I wanted our team to increase the chances of us holding the ball when we were transitioning from our defense to offense. I also thought it was better to make another fresh try if we weren’t able to deliver swift attacks. When I said what I instructed our team to do, I wanted them to play efficiently. I am afraid that what I say may sound as some kind of a play on words, but when players spend more time in offense positions, they naturally spend less time in defense positions. So, I am not sure if spending too much time in defense positions was the correct expression to be used in this situation.

Q: Just like in the earlier home match, the team had received fierce attacks from the opponent team for some time today. During the home match, we saw Goalkeeper Nishikawa save the team with his super saves several time. In comparison, your goalkeeper wasn’t put on the line as frequently as before even though the opponent team attempted a few goals today. Do you think this was because your team’s defense improved or went through some kind of change?

A: Just like in the previous Oita Trinita match we played in Kyushu, we have recently been able to obstruct the number of goals attempted by our opponent team as our defense players and goalkeeper working well together. As you have just pointed out, Nishikawa did a fantastic job in our previous home match. But, our team members, not just limited to Nishikawa, try to prepare well to get to that stage. However, as I mentioned earlier, it is important for our team to improve our maneuvering in terms of switching off from defense to offense as well as to take the ball from our opponent team at a higher position. So, we shouldn’t be satisfied with the simple fact that we thwarted goals attempted by our opponent. We need to reduce the number of such attempts from our opponent as well as to be able to take the ball away from them in a more purposeful manner. We will continue to work hard to achieve this objective.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki – Press Conference after the Match against Sanfrecce Hiroshima