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

Comment from Team Manager Volker Finke on the day before the 2009 season J. League Fifteenth Sec. against Vissel Kobe
During the last match we played against Yokohama F・Marinos, unfortunately we performed very poorly. Since some players were away, we could not play 11 on 11 games until today. Keita finally joined team training for the first time after a while this week. Unfortunately, Tsuboi now cannot play in this weekend’s match.
Many things in the team have changed from the previous match due to having those players who played for the national team back. For the reasons I just explained, many things will change again for the next match. After the previous match against Yokohama F・Marinos, we received several constructive criticisms. Our players understood such criticisms and have worked hard on those issues.
We would certainly like to show better performance than we did in the previous match after 30 minutes into the game. As you saw during today’s training, those players who were away such as Kondo and Ponte are now back. In regards to Ponte, he had very concentrated training last week. As this is the case, I do not think it would take long for him to be fully back with the team and play in matches.

(What was the result of your analysis regarding the team’s poor performance during the last game against Yokohama F-Marinos after 30 minutes into the game?)
I can answer that question very simply. When we came back to the locker room, Marinos players gave us the message that they would win the match. Considering how they played for the first 35 minutes of the match, I do not think they truly believed that they could win the match and get three points. This was because we were playing a much better game than they were. However, our performance deteriorated suddenly after that and we gave two ultimate scoring opportunities for them in the last five minutes. I think this ignited the confidence of the Marinos players. I think we gave them the impression that they could win the match against us today.
I think this had a negative impact on our emotions. Strategically speaking, we were not able to move correctly in our defense when our opponent had scoring opportunities. It was certainly unfortunate for us. However, this type of thing happens often in football. Players often diminish their own confidence while playing in a match. Players often fuel their opponent’s confidence by making several strategic mistakes and by diminishing their own confidence. Such things happened during the last match we played I think that several mistakes we made in our defense made our opponent stronger. However, this is part of what football is and we must acknowledge this. For this reason, we would like to work on this issue and make every effort possible to prevent this type of thing from happening again.

(During today’s training, Abe and Tulio played as center ful-backs. What was your intention for this?)
With the team we have now, there are two or three options for the position. One of the options was what you saw today during training. However, I must be careful when I talk about these matters. It is because this is a very sensitive theme to talk about. One important thing is that in order to fill a position, a player who is in another position has to be used. When this happens, another player who is in another position has to be replaced by another different player. As this is the case, I must consider whom I want to assume what position.
For example, by moving one player to a certain position, another position will be vacant. But sometimes I want one certain player to play in his original position. By considering all sorts of things like this, I come up with the final solution and I assume you understand what I mean by this.
When I try to come up with several options, I do not just think of one certain position and think of the player who can be in that position. I consider everything such as the impact on other positions and which other players can fill in other positions that became vacant as a result. After all those considerations, I come up with two or three options. One such option today was to have Abe play in the position he did.
Having said all this, it was relatively easy for me to come up with this solution of using him in the center position. This was because what we had about four weeks ago was much harder. Back then, we did not have a center back. At that time it was difficult for me to come up with the final decision of using Nobuhisa Yamada in that position.

(What is the situation of Keisuke Tsuboi?)
I would not like to talk about his medical condition in detail in public. However, it is true that he was injured during the first half of the game during the previous match. Tsuboi talked with medical team staff members during half time and was recommended that he should be replaced. However, since he wanted to continue playing in the match, I sent him back on the pitch. He did not give me any sign. But, as far as I was able to see, his movement was not usual. For this reason, I decided to take him off the pitch.
He went through several medical checks. All I can say is that he has some muscle trouble near a tendon. What I heard was it was the part where he was once injured a while ago. Our medical team is very much on top of his physical condition and they know quite a lot about his troubled tendon. For this reason, I would like to trust our medical team and maintain good communication with the team as well as Tsuboi so that he can come back to our team with good condition again.
On a positive note, I would like to say the following clearly that our medical team staff members do an excellent job. As they have worked with the team members for a long time, I do not think anybody knows better about our players’ physical conditions like they do. Our medical team members including doctors and trainers know very much about the players’ conditions and all the injuries they have had in the past are recorded properly. For this reason, I can trust them without having any doubt and work well with them.
There is an important rule in football which I think applies to every club and is not limited to Urawa Reds, which is the opponent you play next is always the most formidable opponent. Since we are playing against a team in the same league, it is necessary for us not only to respect our opponent but also challenge the match with our 120 per cent strong determination. Otherwise, it would be difficult for us to have a good result. This is because we will be playing against a professional team that is in the same league.
It is certainly natural for us to prepare ourselves well for our next match when we are playing against a stronger opponent. If I can elaborate a bit further on the players, I can say that what happens next on the pitch during a match will be the most difficult for them.
For this reason, it will be difficult for us to have a good result if we do not prepare our selves and remain highly concentrated for every situation during the match without underestimating our opponent. Of course, I watched the match Kobe played against Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Now that they have Okubo again, I think the quality of their players has improved. However, there must be a reason for them to be ranked lower in the standings. I have gained several different perspectives about that. However, surely I cannot comment on this here in public.
Considering our current situation, it is important for us to perform well rather than thinking about our opponent. We lost in the last match we played. Regarding the match before the previous match, there was not much we could comment on positively especially during the second half of the game. For this reason, we must put our effort into improving our performance.

(The Spanish national team lost in the Confederation Cup.)
If Urawa Reds can make a record of winning 35 consecutive matches and were able to win 15 consecutive matches, I would still be happy even if we lose the 16th match (lol). 
Even though they lost, their performance was not bad at all. The Spanish national team has achieved fantastic results over the past two years. Their performance during matches certainly deserves admiration. As this is the case, it would be shameful and rude for me to find the reasons why they lost against the American national team. As you may know, in playing football, if you play defensive football or aim to attack only counters, you can have a better result in the short run. It may take a while if you want to play constructive combination football with good ball control. However, this can result in better outcomes in the long run. I mean their playing quality is completely different. If the Spanish national team plays against the American national team 20 times, I am sure that the Spanish team will win 18 of those matches.
However, in playing football, teams that are thought should win can often lose. There are several reasons for this such as the opponent team had better stamina or enjoyed good luck or chose to have compact defense strategies causing some difficulties to create decisive scoring opportunities. If the team aims to stay in the premier league or if a smaller team tries to maintain its place in the middle of the rankings, then playing defensive football that only aiming to attack counters may be justified.
However, if a team wants to have better results in the long run or wants to create an outstanding team that can remain in a higher position in the standings constantly, then playing that type of football would not be good enough. The team must think of how to control the game they are playing. Certainly, it may be difficult to create decisive scoring opportunities even when the team plays such good football if their opponent team has a strong defense built up. However, it is necessary for us to consider ourselves over a long span of time.