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

Comment from Team Manager Volker Finke on the day before the 2009 season
J. League Tenth Sec. against Kashiwa Reysol
We only had two days to prepare ourselves, as we have to play consecutive matches. Since we cannot practice our tactics as we usually do, we spend out training time mostly on our recovery. Considering the current situation, it is necessary to ascertain how many players can play in the next match and how many are injured. At this stage, we do not know if Ponte will be able to play in the next match. Due to his injury, he spent all his training time for his physical treatment. He could not join jogging outside on the field either.
However, I do not want to go on about how exhausted my players are. I am sure that our opponent players are as exhausted as our players are.
What is important for us is to remain highly concentrated to play in our next match. I may be able to see França who plays for Kashiwa Reysol again. Even though he was not always playing as a regular member in Bundesliga in Germany, he played exceptionally well for a certain period of time.

(How is Ponte’s injury?)
He had some muscle troubles as there was too much burden on him. He is quite exhausted. Even though he was able to participate in the cycling training yesterday, he spent all his time today looking after his physical condition. It is true that he was not in condition for participating in the outside training session. He hurt his lower body. But I cannot comment on this any further as in which leg he hurt. The only thing I can say is that he is in pain due to strained muscles.

(Ponte has always played as a starting line-up member during this season. If he will not be able to play in the next match, what would happen?)
I do understand why I am asked such a question. However, I would like you to understand my position as well. As it is to do with our tactics, I cannot make any public comment in this regard. Even if he cannot play in the next match, we still have many players who are capable of playing in his position. Certainly, it is easy for me to mention who that would be here. However, I do not think it would be good for my players to see or not see their names on newspapers tomorrow about this. I should talk to the players directly whether they will be introduced or not.
I would like you, the media people to understand that I cannot say much in terms of our tactics. I also would like you to understand that it is not good for very young players to talk too much to the media. I must think about their development. There was an excellent young player in Germany who played really well at the age of eighteen. He attracted so much attention from the media. However, we did not hear about him at all after a while. That was because he had the wrong idea and was unable to develop himself into a player who could perform well over a long time. I really hope that this type of thing would not happen in this country. For this reason, I would like you to understand that our young players cannot speak to the media too often. I beg you to understand this. I am very surprised by the fact that the media tries to inflate a few young players in the hope to make them stars. Based on the statistics in Germany, there are many more players who sparkled for a little while and did not make it successfully than those players who do. I must make sure that this type of thing does not happen. I would like to act responsibly together with you to make sure that 17 or 18 year old players’ career highlights will not be just now.

Some media depicted that I restrict interviews as a manager of this team. However, it is not true. I would like to make it clear that I have never tried to do so. I am not trying to restrict media interviews nor impose something that they do not want to do. What is important here is to prepare a good environment for players so that they can develop themselves well. Shoganai (It cannot be helped.) (lol).

(Naoki Yamada and Haraguchi have been starting line-up members before. What do you think is necessary for other young players to develop further?)
I cannot make detailed comments here in regards to challenges each players face. Not all players are under the same condition. There is no such thing as a perfect solution either. They are still developing and whether they will grow to be valuable football players for the team is yet to be known. They will certainly get much stimulation through training and team development. They can also listen to the stories of their coaching staff members, which would be valuable for their future development. What we should not forget is the fact that there are several ways to become an excellent player. Transferring to another club on lease would be one of the options as well depending on the situation.
Japan Football Association hosted an U-20 national team training camp the other day. During the camp, players had a training match against a university team. It was a draw. This may show the real level of young players at this stage. There were many players who play in J. League matches. Nonetheless, they only managed to have a draw in the game against university players. For this reason, considering their abilities, it may be too early for us to use more than two or three young players in J. League matches at a time.

(What about the rotation system for young players to gain more experience?)
I cannot promise that this will be the case from now on for every match. But, I am thinking of using one or two young players in one of the six field players’ positions in rotation. It is important for young players to give good impressions through their daily training sessions.

(We talked a lot about young players so far. Now, we would like to ask you about yourself. What is your daily life like and do you have any hobbies?)
Being a public figure as a team manager, people know what I look like. Even though this is the case, I think that my private life should be protected to some degree like it was in Germany.
But, I can tell you here that I do enjoy going to the cinema. I like going to theaters to see some plays. I enjoy cycling as well. I know there are many places in Tokyo for people to spend their time quietly. As you may know, I like to spend my time quietly. I went to see a film yesterday as well. It was an Indian film and the main character who is from a slum becomes a millionaire. I am aware that people have different opinions about this film and it has received much criticism. However, it was such an interesting film for me and left me with a lot to think about. I try to choose to watch films in English or French and preferably in Germany. Otherwise, I do not understand the story (lol). It is excellent when foreign films have Japanese subtitles. I try to read Japanese as well. The Oscar-winning Japanese film, Okuribito or Departure in English was an excellent film and I enjoyed it with my interest. Even though the film was in Japanese, I was able to understand the content well as it had English subtitles. There are still so many things that I do not know about Japan. However, by watching many films and reading many books, I think I am learning more about Japan little by little. Though, football may be easier for me to learn (lol).

(First team players worked only on their recovery today. Don’t they get nervous if they do not get to practice with football balls the day before a match?)
They will put on their spiked shoes tomorrow morning.

(Did your players in Bundesliga have a similar adjustment schedule?)
It depended on the situation of the team. If the average age of the players who played in the pervious match was 22 years old, they would have been on the pitch today and training as usual. This is because young players can recover quicker. However, when many of the players who played in matches was around 28 to 33 years old, it is nonsense to make them go through a harsh training on the pitch two days after an official match. As this is the case, I made today’s entire training for their recovery.

(What is your impression about Kashiwa Reysol?)
I check their past two matches on DVD. I think that the team has good amount of fitness just like many other teams in the J. League. All the players were running a lot for the team. There are also many players who can switch their movements quickly and run for a long distance. On top of that, there are three or four excellent players. That is my impression of Kashima Reysol.

(Tomorrow is Children’s Day. Would you like to give a message to children?)
It is evident by looking around the world that football brings joy to children. This is a sport which everyone can enjoy regardless of race and nationality. I think this is wonderful. Football is, in a way, a universal language. For example, when a child has to move to another country because of his or her parents’ job, the child can make new friends through playing football regardless of their sex. I think football provides the best solution when children try to fit in in a different culture where a different language is spoken. I think it is wonderful to have the opportunity to show children the joy of football like Tulio did yesterday as part of services for our fans. I would like to make children happy through football on Children’s Day tomorrow.