Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki – press conference after the match against Shimizu S-Pulse  

Comment from Team Manager Otsuki after the Meiji Yasuda J1 League 28th Sec match against Shimizu S-Pulse

We are glad to have been able to score three points by winning the match today after some time. I felt it was tough that our opponent team scored the first goal today. However, our players kept their chins up to fight strongly against our opponent. Our fans and supporters also bolstered us even before the match started and fought together with us throughout the match. I am so grateful for both our players and fans. Since we will have some time to ourselves before our next match, we will train ourselves well and work hard to do well in our next match.

Questions and Answers

Q: It seemed as though the team struggled during the first half of the match. However, the mood changed drastically in the second half of the match after your team scored a goal. What made your team to play the way they did?

A: We had anticipated during our training that Shimizu S-Pulse would have a 4-2-3-1 formation and their 3 position players would come after our three back players. It was also the case with our match against Shonan Bellmare and Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. As this was the case, it was crucial for us to ward them off. However, we couldn’t deal with this well before. When the match started, Koroki was somewhat isolated and Muto and Nagasawa’s positions were not utilized effectively. For this reason, I was hoping to adjust their positions as they were playing the match. After about thirty minutes into the first half of the match, Koroki and Muto adjusted their positions by themselves and the line moved back a little, which helped us to be able to get hold of the ball in our possession. I was trying to give them the instructions from outside the pitch and thanks to their quick thinking and response, our team was able to have the ball in our control towards the end of the first half of the match.

Before this happened, our team had some good moments such as Hashioka threading the ball through to Muto. However, our team was not able to turn that opportunity to our advantage. It was more like our team passing the ball amongst ourselves at the back. As we were able to recognize the intention of Shimizu S-Pulse, we discussed how we would be able to ward them off during half time. Thanks to this, it became easier for our team to execute what we intended to do. However, Shimizu S-Pulse changed their formation to a 4-1-4-1 system and had covered both sides wide. The second half of the match started with our system misaligned to the formation of Shimizu S-Pulse. As a result, they were controlling the match until about 60 minutes into the match. But, we regained our control following that. Both teams had several different intentions throughout the match, but I feel that our players responded well to the flow of the match.

Q: Urawa Reds won a J. League match after a while today. The team struggled to win the past few J. League matches even though they were in with a good chance to win in some of those matches. I trust that you must have gone through a tough time over this period as the team manager. Can you tell us what you were feeling during this period?

A: Obviously, the matches will go on and we must still continue to work hard from now. But, with regard to us not being able to win the last few J. League matches, I felt frustrated. I am pleased that our team scored three points by winning the match today. But, it was not like I was overjoyed and shared this victorious result emotionally with our players. This victory reaffirmed that we must work hard to do well in our next match. I talked with my players that it is important for us to remain consistent and not to be swayed by one outcome to another. We must make sure that we remain consistent and try to do well in our next match.

Q: As for the equalizer your team scored, I feel that the movements of Koroki and Hashioka leading up to that successful goal scoring were the culmination of their hard work during training. Your team also managed to keep the score to be 2 to 1 after coming from behind. Could you please give us some comment around these points?

A: Hashioka delivered a cross pass from the right side and assisted Koroki like he did today in our home match against Shimizu S-Pulse last season. I think it was Hashioka’s first successful assist attempt. But, the quality of his assist today was very different from what he did back then. This time, he delivered the cross with a calculated intention. I must say he has developed and grown really well, and this is very pleasing to see. As for Koroki, his excellent off-the-ball movements to make the most of Hashioka’s assistance was the true reflection of his hard work in training.

To move forward, I want to see our team to create more goal scoring opportunities though it may be difficult to score many more goals in reality as this would depend on our opponent team. With regard to our team’s defense today, there were moments when our team couldn’t respond quickly enough to the positional change of our opponent team and the number of fouls increased. But our team has been developing by going through some of those difficult situations. I hope we will continue to have good defense in our next match rather than leaving it as a one-off attempt.

Q: As for your steering during the match today, your team guarded well in an open match after the result became 2 to 1. What can you say about that?

A: Since this also depends on our opponent’s thinking and response, it is hard for me to say how I would steer my team’s movements, but I assess our member line and try to figure out what we would do as a team. I try to assess breakthrough points and heights etc. But how our team would respond will depend on the individual player’s judgement and performance quality. For this reason, it was not so much of how I steered the team today but rather how well our players did in crucial moments.

I am so grateful for our fans and supporters for showing us their great support today which started when our team got on board the bus. This gesture was the true reflection of the soul of Urawa Reds and the culture we have built together since the beginning of the J. League. I have been so moved by them. Thank you so much.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki – press conference after the match against Shimizu S-Pulse