The day before the J. League Fourteenth Sec.–Team Manager Finke   

Comment from Team Manager Volker Finke on the day before the 2009 season J. League Fourteenth Sec. against Yokohama F-Marinos
We have been training ourselves everyday despite the fact that so many players are missing. We have not been able to play 11 on 11 matches for a long time. Since those players who had been away to join the national team are finally back today, we were able to play a 10 on 10 match with one freeman. There were also many players today who had not been able to participate in team training as well as to play in the past official matches due to their injuries and other reasons. It was not a perfect situation for us. Nonetheless, I have no complaints regarding such situations.
Now, I would like to have as best a result as possible by using those players who can play in a match. However, small groups may make it easier for us to have better training depending on the situation. Players may be able to concentrate more during training if they train themselves in a smaller group. For this reason, it might have been better for some players that there were not too many players.
As I expect to be asked the question later, I would like to tell you in advance that I am planning to use all the players who played for the national team. I would like to use Tulio, Abe and Tsuzuki.

(How are those three national players conditions?)
cannot comment much about them until I see how they are during the match. For this reason, I would like to use them as starting line-up members tomorrow. Certainly, they are talented players and they are chosen to be the member of the national team for this very reason. As this is the case, it is not necessary for them to prove their talent in the next match. It is true that they had various burdens put on them as they were away to join the national team. However, I do not want to remove these three players from the starting line-up members.
But, it is certainly possible for me to react appropriately during the match. If I think they are not at their usual best conditions, I can change players during the match.

(How is Tadaaki Hirakawa who had to be replaced during the match against Montedio Yamagata in the Satellite League?)
Unfortunately, he is injured. Since he got injured, he sent the signal to be replaced when he realized his body’s reaction. It was proven by MRI scan that he is injured. I think it will take him several weeks until he can come back to the team again.
I often talk to my players that there are very important points for us to be aware of. As a professional player, we should not ignore any signals our body makes. Human bodies react in various ways under many different situations. We should not ignore such signs our body gives out to us.
If we believe that we are tough and ignore such signs to continue our training or play in a match, we will end up hurting our bodies even more. As a professional player, we must understand such signs and react appropriately. We also have to learn to respect nature and the human body. Nature and our bodies send us some signals for a reason. As this is the case, if you sense such signals, it is necessary for you to act appropriately. It applies not only players but also every one that when they suffer from some kind of inflammation, most bodies show some kind of reaction.
For example, people will have a fever or get sick. When you have a fever, it is not good for you to go out and try to do many things despite your condition. This is easy for anyone to understand even if the person is not a player. The same goes with muscle injuries. When your body is under undue burden, your muscles react to such burden. When this happens, it is necessary for the muscles to be treated. It is terrible if you have to play in a match by hiding the injury.
What I learnt since coming to Japan was that it is honored when a player endures his injury and play in matches despite his injury. However, I do not think this is professional at all. If a player ignores the sign his body gives out in order to play in a match, this will inconvenience his other teammates. As this is the case, this should not happen at all.
This is just an example, but let’s suppose one player is injured and he can only play at 70 per cent of his potential. When such a player plays on the pitch, it is very rude for those players on the bench who are not injured and have full potential. This will be a long battle and I must talk with my players about many things. What I learnt since I came to Japan was that many players believe that they can play even when they are injured. They also believe that they will be honored if they can play with their injuries. I think the media treat them the same way. When a player plays in a match with his injury, it is very much honored and the player is treated like a hero. However, this is something that I cannot understand whatsoever. This should not happen to a professional player. I also do not understand why the media depicts it in a positive manner when injured players play in matches.

(Did Hirakawa force himself to play in the match?)
I do not think I forced him to play or put undue burden on him at all. As far as I can remember, Hirakawa participated in team training at least for two weeks, if not about three weeks. Medical staff gave him the go ahead sign as well. I also spoke with him directly two days before the match. I talked about many things with him including if his condition is good enough to play in the match. I told him to treat his physical condition well after team training. We also discussed that it might be a good idea for him to play in the match for 60 minutes. Everyone concerned gave him the go ahead sign. However, unfortunately he said that he had to be replaced after playing in the match. Having said that, I do not think we forced him to play at all. This is because we discussed everything with him when we made the decision.
As a professional, I should not have said what I did. However, I took the risk to answer your question. This is because I believe you talked with Hirakawa directly. Under normal circumstances, it is very risky to talk about such things in public. I really hope what I just said will not be picked up by the media sensationally in a wrong way. I answered your question as I wanted to explain our current situation. In reality, it is not good to comment on such things in detail as a professional.
The reason why what I just did was not professional is because this is a very risky thing to do. Anywhere in the world, doctors should not talk about the condition of their patients. What a doctor discussed with his or her patient has to be kept within them. However, in the case of a professional football club, the condition of patients must be informed to its team manager and the management if necessary.
However, doctors cannot give out detailed information to the general public, other players as well as to the media. It is natural for doctors to do so as part of their duty. However, when a player tells something different from what he was told by his doctor to the media, his doctor has no chance of telling the truth to the surrounding people. If I talk about the situation and recovery condition of a player in too much detail, this may create some issues later on. In reality, it is not a good idea to do so and this may invite some risky situations in the future depending on the situation.
I would like the media people to understand that sometimes players say what they believe rather than the truth. We should not forget about this. The following example does not apply to our case this time, but often players with heavy injuries think of their injuries lightly and tell the media that they could recover in two to three weeks. However, their doctors tell their team managers that their situations are very bad and it may take them several months to recover. However, even when what players think is reported through the media, their doctors are not in the position of telling the truth to the outside people. This is what I would like media people to understand.
When you ask players directly about their injuries and if they tell you what they think is “right”, this may create some dangerous situations within the team. I personally do not wish to tell the media that what players said was not right and how terrible their real situations are. For this reason, I think it is very dangerous for players to talk about their injury conditions to outsiders. When the media heard players’ comments first and ask me about the players’ comment, it may lead to some kind of issues depending on the situation. As this is the case, it is very risky to talk about injuries. This is something sensitive that we all have to think about.

(What is your impression of Yokohama F-Marinos?)
Considering their past thirteen matches during this season as well as how they have developed, I think they are a team that can remain at a high position in the J. League standings. I certainly would like to prepare for the match against them with respect. If we can prepare and perform ourselves well, I think we will be able to have a good result.
Having said that, I think Yokohama F-Marinos is a good team with an outstanding potential. I do not think their rank in the current standings is reflecting their true potential. If the weather turns out to be good, the stadium will be filled with a wonderful atmosphere and spectators will be able to see a fascinating match.