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

Comment from Team Manager Volker Finke on the day before the 2009 season J. League Ninth Sec. against Albirex Niigata
We had to play in a match two days ago and we have been quite alright since then. Players who played in the previous match have not been injured. This is very important for me. As for the previous match, there were several things that went both well and wrong. However, I did not have a long discussion regarding them. As we must prepare ourselves for the next match in a short period of time, we will leave them behind. We will concentrate our efforts on our next match.
Since we have to play three matches in one week, I cannot put too much burden on the players on the pitch. As such, what is important is their mental strength. In a way, it is vital for us to prepare ourselves mentally well when we try to be ready for our next match under this type of circumstance.
The next match we will play will be our fourth home game. I would like to increase the chance of our victory by creating more scoring chances than our opponent team will.

(How do players prepare themselves mentally?)
I think there are several ways to enhance mental strength. There is no “one and only program” for this. There are several different situations. We need to strengthen ourselves depending on the each situation.
Considering the current situation, it is important for me to have discussions with the players in a positive manner. I think they did well in the match against Simizu S-Pulse. Certainly, it was a match we could have won. It was unfortunate that we had the result as we did. For this reason, I would like to have constructive discussions with the players so that they will have a strong will to play well in the next match.

(How are Tatsuya Tanaka and Tadaaki Hirakawa?)
I was told that it would take some time for them to recover from their injuries. However, our medical staff members are experienced when it comes to such injuries. Players have lots of experience in this regard as well. As this is the case, I will not put any pressure on the players so that they will come back to the team sooner. It is important for them to come back to the team in good physical condition. It would be better for them to take more time than less time to come back to the team. For this reason, I cannot tell you that they will return to the team in two or three weeks time as such. What is important is how they are recovering.

(How about Koji Noda and Sunsuke Tsutsumi?)
Tsutsumi had another knee operation yesterday. The doctor told me that he was happy that the operation was successful. He is still young and has lots of time. It may take a long time for him to come back to our team. However, it is important for him to recover his physical condition fully. I have no idea as to how long it will take him to recover. It may take six months or nine to ten months.
As for Noda, he strained his muscles during training the other day. Based on my experiences, it would probably take seven to ten days for his recovery.

(Recently, Albirex has 3 top offense. What do you think of them?)
I have already seen some footage of the team. I think they are very aggressive and it is quite a dangerous team for us. Therefore, we have to remain concentrated when we play against the team. What we should not forget, though, is that we must truly respect all our opponents regardless if it is Albirex Niigata or other teams.
This is because we are working on something new from this season. Players are working on something completely different such as different movements and training content as part of the team. As we are working on something new, it is necessary for us to respect our opponents. If we forget this and won’t prepare ourselves well, we may face very difficult situations.

(What do you think the team has to be mindful of regarding Albirex Niigata?)
There are certainly several points that we must be mindful of when it comes to playing against the team. However, I would like you to understand that I cannot make any comments especially about our strategic tactics.
If I share some of our strategies, many people will find out about them through the media. If that would be the case, I may as well invite the team manager of Albirex Niigata here to start with (lol). As such, I hope that you would understand the fact that I do not want to make any comment about strategies. Every team has its own secrets and such secrets as well as what they think of their opponents should not be discussed in public.

(Starting line-up members have not changed much recently. Are you planning to change the members as you have a series of matches to play from now?)
I cannot say that starting line-up members would not change at all as we must play several matches from now. I can see how players are by observing games. I must assess when players stop functioning due to fatigue. Some players may already be worn out during training.
As such, it is important for me to observe the condition of players carefully. I must see how they move and when they start to get tired. Based on my observation, I may have to change players after half time or even change starting line-up members. Those things change depending on each player’s condition.
However, what we should not forget is the fact that our opponent teams are also going through many matches just like us. Certainly, there may be a case where our players are extremely exhausted and some of the players have to play on the pitch even when they are suffering from fatigue. However, the same thing would apply to our opponent teams as well. Things may be different if our opponent teams have more rest than we do. But, at this stage, our opponents are going through a similar match schedule. What is important for the players is that they should not be led to believe that they are exhausted. As our opponents are also going through a similar match schedule, they would be as exhausted as our players.

(After watching the footage of Albirex, what is your impression of Pedro Junior who scores many goals?)
I would like to comment on this question after the match.

(What do you think was the key for winning all the home matches?)
We have 9 points as we were able to win the past three home matches in a row. We played five away matches until now. It is necessary for us to continue to show how strong we are when we play in our home stadium with many of our fans and supporters. It is very important for me to do so.
So many fans and supporters come to the stadium for us. For this reason, I would like to work hard to have as good a result as possible so that they can return home feeling good. I think it is very important for us to play well in our home stadium. We still have a lot more matches to go for this season. We will play many more home matches from now. I would like our team to be well known among our opponent teams for playing well in home matches. The team has to grow further with our fans and supporters.

(How do you manage the risk of swine flu as a team since this is a big topic at the moment?)
I do not intend to take any proactive measures for the team as I am a guest to Japan. However, when the club takes some measures against this issue, I certainly am willingly to support the decision. It is important for the club to take proactive measures rather than just myself. When the club requests me to participate in such efforts, I will involve myself willingly.

(What muscles did Koji Noda strain?)
I was told that he hurt his left thigh muscle. When he jumped during the training program playing basketball, he strained his muscle. As such, it has proven that basket ball is such a dangerous sport (lol). I can hardly believe a soccer team manager making his players play basketball for training (lol).
I heard that he jumped like a very famous basketball player. But, he strained his muscle after he landed on the ground. He might have watched some nice basketball play on TV and tried to do the same thing.
But, seriously speaking, it is very unfortunate that this happened. It is regrettable that this had happened before he had the chance to start real training sessions. I am saddened by this news as well. He may warm up his body well in the future before he plays basketball as part of training.