Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki – press conference after the match against Vegalta Sendai  

Comment from Team Manager Otsuki after the J. League YBC Levain Cup Group Stage 1st Sec. match against Vegalta Sendai

It was great that we had a good start to the match and scored several goals at an early stage. I am also glad to see our players were determined to show what they have gained during training. Having said that it was not good that our team allowed our opponent team to score two goals in a row in a very short time span during the first half of the match.

After having re-motivated ourselves during half time, we had managed to score another goal at an early stage into the second half of the match. However, the match was quite loose and rough. I would like to have our team try out what we are currently practicing in the next match. I will work hard with our team members to improve our performance quality further.

Questions and Answers

Q: You said that the second half of the match turned out to be loose and rough. Having seen that your fans and supporters after the match reacted quietly, it looked as though they were not fully satisfied by your team’s performance today. How did you interpret their reaction after the match?

A: I didn’t realize our fans and supporters responded how you have just described it. Personally, I didn’t feel that way. But, hearing what you have said, I think their response is the sign that they were expecting more from us. So, I would like to continue to work hard again from tomorrow’s training.

Q: The team played their first official match for this season today. Considering how your team players worked during the training camps, how did your team perform against your expectation today?

A: If I had given a comment to your question before the match started, what I would have said would have had some kind of credibility. However, I don’t think there is much point in making a comment after the match. Either way, today’s match result will set a benchmark for our performance for this season. For this reason, I want to go through and reflect on what we need to do before the next match though the opponent we will be playing will be different.

Q: I trust that you have given a high mark for your team players’ attitude during the training before the season started. How did you evaluate your team’s attitude towards the match today?

A: They have been well focused on this opening match. Many people in the stadium today had suffered frustration last year including myself. Amongst them, the most frustrated were our players. For this reason, they exhibited their strong determination to do well for the coming season. I was able to sense this type of determination from them during our training camps and I felt this before the match started today. I would like this to continue for the next match and beyond.

Q: The two top players namely Sugimoto and Leonardo scored two gaols each today. What do you think of their performance?

A: It was great that they scored two goals each today. This says it all.

Q: Looking more closely at how your team scored the goals today, the third goal was scored following Sekine’s interception of the ball in the mid-field. The team gained good momentum and showed a powerful and flowing performance before the third goal was scored. What did you think of the flow of the team leading up to the third goal being scored?

A: Firstly, our defense players did a good job to start with. As for the second goal, our team’s performance dropped a little. But, our players did a particularly good job when they scored the third goal and when Martinus scored the fifth goal. I hope to see more of those happening in the coming months.

Q: I thought you were able to show your fans and supporters as well as the media the change the team is going through today. What do you think about this?

A: As we only finished playing the first match, all I can say now is that we will work hard to show a positive outcome in the J. League as well. Today’s match doesn’t mean everything. Having finished playing the match today, we will continue to work hard again from tomorrow. Our action means everything.

Q: You had Sugimoto and Leonardo in the two forward potions as starting members today and didn’t have Koroki play in the match though he was the highest goal scoring member of the team last year. What was the reason for selecting those two players as forwards and what do you regard to be important for the players to be in that position?

A: As for Koroki, he missed a day of training as he sustained a minor injury during training this week. As a result, Sugimoto and Leonardo practiced together. Since I saw them working together as a good combination, I thought it is worth using them in the two forward positions. If you had a chance to see our camp training earlier, you might have noticed that those three players work really well together. But, the strengths of each players are all different. While Koroki can both pull out and retract the ball well and can fill the back space of the opponent team, Sugimoto can make a positive contribution in the team’s defense in terms of height and mobility. As for Leonardo, I saw lots of video footage of his performance recorded last year when he was playing for Albirex Niigata. He was running around so aggressively for the team’s defense and my impression of him hasn’t changed. As a matter of fact, I had to point out to him that he was working way too hard for our team’s defense during our training camps. Considering these points, Leonardo has been developing himself quite fast. Since I was able to try out and assess how those three players work in combination, I would like to keep continue to see how they develop further.

Apart from those three players, other players such as Taketomi and Fabrício who are currently on their way to full recover from their injuries will also join the team again. Ryotaro Ito who was a sub-member today also plays really well in the forward position. As such, I want to make sure to recognize other players’ good performance and develop them further through our training.

I look forward to working with you again this year. Thank you very much.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki – press conference after the match against Vegalta Sendai