The day before the J. League Eleventh Sec.-Team Manager Finke  

Comment from Team Manager Volker Finke on the day before the 2009 season J. League Eleventh Sec. against Kawasaki Frontale
Unfortunately, the situation of our members is not so good. Ponte injured his ankle during training. He cannot play in this weekend’s match as he will not be able to recover within three days. It will take a while for Tatsuya to recover. As you know, it will take longer for Umesaki to recover.
It is true that the number of our attackers has decreased. Under the current situation, I do not have many options at hand. Nonetheless, I truly trust those players who will play in the match. As we have worked for a long time together, I know that they are capable of performing well. In that sense, I hope they will be able to perform well and do an excellent job playing in the match for the team. We still don’t know about Hosogai. Even though he was not injured, he was unable to participate in today’s training as he was not feeling well. We have to see how he will be tomorrow. Therefore we do not know whether or not he can play in the match tomorrow.
I watched the match Kawasaki Frontale played in China. Even though the result was not good for them, I think they played really well. In my opinion, it was quite possible for Frontale to have won the game. Since last year, not many members have changed in Kawasaki Frontale. As for our team, not many members have changed either since last year. In this sense, I am sure our players understand how difficult this match against Frontale will be. I think that they are sensing this physically. For this reason, we must prepare ourselves really well. I think every member understands we must have high concentration.

(Did you have light training so that players can recover well?)
That is right. I must take recovery into my consideration with this team. Even though we were able to earn three points over the past two matches, as you know, there is no doubt they were very difficult matches for us. For this reason, I tried not to put too much burden on the players by taking their physical fitness into consideration. We have to play our match from 14:00 tomorrow. I was also told how high the temperature will get tomorrow. I think it will be another tough and exhausting match tomorrow. As such, I tried to save the players’ energy today.

(What was good about Kawasaki Flontale against Tianjin in ACL?)
They were playing quite dangerously for their opponent. Flontale created more scoring opportunities as well. It was unfortunate that these things did not bring them a victory.

(Can you elaborate on Ponte’s injury?)
He injured his right leg. His doctor knows the most about his injury details and not me. As such, I would like to refrain from making a detailed comment about his injury. After he sprained his muscle, he had several check-ups. We know that he at least has not broken his leg. He did not tear his ligament either. However, I do not want to talk any further than what I said.

There is something that I would like to express to you. When you are going to write some articles about me, please talk to me directly and then put it in your article. I do not remember restricting media interviews at all. I do not understand why you wrote that I restrict media interviews and I do not recall restricting interviews with Haraguchi. However, what I expect the media to understand is that I sometimes give advice to my players as a team manager. I did give him a piece of advice that he should concentrate on football rather than talking too much.
But, this does not mean that I am controlling his media interviews. I would expect it to be natural for reporters to ask any questions they have directly to me. As far as I can see, those reporters who wrote such articles also come to our club house and so long as I can remember, I come to the club house everyday. As this is the case, it would be possible for the press to confirm any concerns they have with me. In regards to the issue we have at the moment, I have not restricted any media interviews. Certainly, I can say to anyone at anytime that I gave Haraguchi a piece of advice not to talk too much. However, this is part of my job as a team manager.
Kashima Antlers has experienced a similar situation. Their number 34 player, Osako was told by his team manager that he should not talk too much. When this has been the case for Kashima Antlers, how come it is acceptable yet we receive big criticisms instead? If you are planning to write the type of article you wrote before, I would like you to talk to me beforehand. What is important for us is to continue to work together in the future. I certainly understand that I am here in this country as a guest. I respect Japanese culture so much. I have been stimulated in a nice way here in Japan as well. I feel grateful to Japan in this regard.
However, in order for us to continue to work together in the future, we must value fair play. As you saw during our camp training, I made time for the press even at 7 o’clock in the morning so that we were able to have a good interview. For this reason, when you are going to write about something I may have done, please talk to me beforehand.
If you can do this, we will be able to spend sometime to talk about the particular issue together. This is what I believe fair play is in the work place. I certainly understand that I am a guest here. However, I would like to beg you to understand this. I am not trying to ask for anything more than that.
I always pass through in front of you in the Ohara training ground when I go home. I am sure you all know what car I drive. I may go home late at times. However, I always go home by car. As I walk through in front of you, please make the most of the opportunity at that time and ask me any questions. As I am in a foreign country, I am not able to read what is written in newspapers. I have no idea about what is written in them. As this is the case, I have no choice but to have someone tell me what is written in newspapers about me and what I do even when it is not true.
I would like to work with you in order to build a good relationship with you all, which I believe is the correct way to communicate between reporters and a team manager. It is natural for a team manager to give some kind of advice to his players and as such, it is part of his job. In regards to Haraguchi, of course it was a case of a talented player who made his debut in the J. League and gave an excellent performance at the beginning. However, he started to make many comments which were different from the types of comments he used to make. He started to talk about many things such as he would like to score goals in the next match or how he would like to strike a goal shot and so on. At the same time, his performance started to deteriorate. The way I saw it was that since Haraguchi started to talk to the media about many things, he started to focus on something else other than football. I do not think this is a good situation for him. For this reason, I told him to concentrate on playing football rather than talking to external people so that he can play well again. All I did was just giving him a piece of advice. I think it is natural for a team manger to do so and in doing so, I did not restrict or control media interviews at all.
I question whether we should follow suit as Tokyo Verdy did a while back. Nonetheless, I am sure you all are aware of how well Morimoto developed. I assume that you are also aware of what Tokyo Verdy did at that time. Morimoto played in 20 matches for Catania Serie A. A 21 year old Japanese football player played in 20 matches in Serie A and scored four goals, which is wonderful. It may be possible to say that he developed well as his club, Tokyo Verdy protected him as they did. I shared this story to give an example. I am not trying to criticise what you are trying to do. It will be wrong if some big articles appear in newspapers tomorrow saying that Team Manager Finke criticised the media. I am not criticising you whatsoever.
However, I do believe that it is important for us to be able to speak about many things to each other as we work together. Please do ask me questions directly when you are going to write about something I say or I do in the future.
This is because there is a big difference between giving some advice to my players and restricting or banning media interviews. I would like to conduct my job with you feeling happy.

(How are you going to communicate with the media in the future?)
The reason why I just laughed was because I just remembered something. I talked about responding to the media in the car park. There was once an occasion when an article was put in newspapers saying that I would restrict media interviews. However, it was not true. At that time, our club was trying to introduce some kind of restrictions on the media interviews. As I was also asked questions regarding this, I expressed my own opinions as well. However, I never thought of changing everything since coming to the club as a new team manager. There is no evidence that shows I even tried to do so.
I just remembered that what the club was trying to do was appeared in the article as it did. I know that it would be too much to ask you to learn English and German. However, as a way of communication, you can ask our PR section to get me. As some of them also speak English, it is possible for them to contact me or provide an interpreting service while I come down to talk to you. If anyone of you here is going to try to ask me questions in German, I will try to respond to you in Japanese (lol).
I do not have any problems if you ask me questions when I try to get to my car. I would like to make the time to answer as many of your questions as possible. However, as I am older and have more experience than my players, I may exercise my courage to say that I must go after I answer a few questions.
Nonetheless, I would like to respond to you properly as long as you do not request me to talk in heavy rain.

(How are you planning to handle the Japanese hot weather?)
I have a lot of unpleasant information regarding this. It will be a new experience for me. I think I have to make a decision based on the situation of each player. There are both older and younger players in this team. While some players recover quickly, some do not. As this is the case, I would like to decide when I burden them and when I let them focus on their recovery depending on how each player is. There may be a case where I make the decision of introducing recovery training even when players think that they are capable of having usual training. This is because I try to make each player prepare himself to be in his best condition for the next match.

(What do you think of the Japanese hot and humid summer?)
Everyone I spoke with told me that we will have an unpleasant summer. If this is true, it means that I have already experienced the most beautiful season in Japan. I hope that we will not have too many mosquitoes.