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

Comment from Team Manager Volker Finke on the day before the 2009 season
J. League Third Sec. against Jubilo Iwata
Unfortunately, Hayashi has not been able to participate in training for several days during this week due to some sense of problem with his adductor muscles. But, he came back to the team training today. I think he will be able to participate in our training without any problems from next week.
As for Haraguchi, he left the training yesterday after a while as he had a cold. Even though he participated in the training today, we do not know if he will go to Iwata with the team. A doctor is following up on this and Haraguchi had a medical check as well. As this is the case, I would like to make the decision based on the result. I cannot say anything at this point in time. Other than these, we do not have any concerns over the weekend. As Tulio is recovering from his injury, I do not think he would have any problem playing in the match over the weekend.

(Nobuhisa Yamada had a separate training program earlier this week.)
He hit and bruised his muscles really badly when the opponent players fouled during the first half of the match. However, our medical staff did an excellent job on this and he came back to our training from yesterday without any problems. When I talked with medical staff members, I was told that he would be able to come back to training from Thursday. In this sense, everything went well as planned and he recovered as expected. I may have already told everyone about this, however as it appeared in some newspaper today, I would like to talk about Umesaki. He had suffered back pain and it has taken him a long time to get better. After having several examinations, we came to the conclusion that he should have an operation. I had discussions with Umesaki as well as doctors and we decided on that. For this reason, he cannot participate in training for a while. But, I hope he can make a good recovery as part of the team as he is an excellent player.

(Tsutsumi has been having ball training from this week.)
It has been the case only for the past four or five days so far. When a player has an injury like his, it would take at least six months for any other player in the world. The case may be different in Japan (lol). As it has only been four months (since his injury), I think it will take a long time.

(Is everything going well with him?)
Tsutsumi played in the side full back position as a member of the U-21 Japanese National Team before. I saw many recorded matches that were held last year. I think he is a talented player and I am looking forward to how he develops in the future. When I joined the team, I was contemplating on the idea of acquiring a new player. There were many reasons. However, since I found out that we have a young player like Tsutsumi, I decided that I would not make any move in regards to ascertaining a new player at least till June. If we have to take over the positions of the team’s young players by acquiring new players from outside in this kind of team situation, I would rather wait and carefully observe the players of the team or wait for players who have been away for a while to come back to the team. I would like to wait till June to make decisions about the future. He now has ball training every day with Trainer Nozaki, however he has not played against any other players. You cannot avoid playing against other players in football. When he can participate in game style training that requires him to play against other players, we can start to contemplate on his recovery timing. I think there is still a long way ahead.
However, he is a talented player and I always observe him well. Perhaps, that has been the case with him as well. He has been observing me to find out what kind of training I introduce and what kind of things I say. For this reason, I took him to the Ibusuki camp. I thought that he should participate in the process of how the team develops by being at the same place as his team and breathing the same air when we were working on building a new team.

(How is Shunki Takahashi’s condition?)
He participated in team training today for the first time after a while. As the medical section gave him the go ahead sign, I let him return to team training. He injured his back and the back pain is affecting other muscles through the nerve system. Since physical ability is also vital, it is important for him to get over his injury so that he can contribute to the team in a positive way. He had been working on a separate training program rather than participating in team training. But, I think he can participate in team training from next week without any problems. He was able to finish all training sessions during the long preparation period without having any other injuries. It is of course difficult for us not having him as a team member for this important period such as the beginning of the season. But, I am sure he will come back to the team depending on how he is during training as well as his performance.

(What about the match against Jubilo Iwata tomorrow?)
I think it is the same in Europe that a team who lost twice in a row since the opening of the new season can be quite dangerous. Probably the atmosphere within the club is not so positive since the team lost twice in a row. Depending on the situation, a yellow signal can turn red. Considering this maybe the case, the team will be united by ascertaining new power through team meetings and so on when playing against us. As this may be the case, we should stay alert when playing against them. I am certain that the team can be quite a challenging opponent despite the fact that the team lost matches in a row. However playing football is different from an orchestra to which we can make some request of tunes for them to play. We cannot choose the timing to play against a team nor the condition the team is in. I wish we did not have to play against the team in such dangerous condition at this time. This is what I feel.

(What do you mean by “at this time”?)
I meant the situation Jubilo is in. The team is trying to win the game in some way or another as a red light is blinking for them since the team lost two matches in a row. Playing against Jubilo in such a situation is, in a way, not so good for us. They are put in a difficult position under such circumstances and depending on the situation, some players may perform at 130 percent of their ability instead of 100 percent. They will play the game with their strong determination and will. For this reason, we must play the game with real concentration.

(The team won for the first time this season last week.)
My feelings have not changed since last week. The only difference is that my mind feels warmer this week as it has become warmer since the cold winter is over. However, the result of the match against the Antlers was disappointing. Nonetheless, I was able to feel that the team was advancing in the right direction. Even after a defeat, I do not necessarily feel bad all the time. There are times when I can continue to work with a good mindset. It was the case with me last week. Of course, there might have been some kind of criticism about our match against the Antlers. However, my goal was already set and that was proven by the result we had in the following match. We are working in collaboration to move forward in one direction as a united team. Currently, this has been working well. As such, my feelings or way of thinking does not change based on the result of every game.

(What about away games?)
We do not change how we play just because we play on an away ground. As it has been only a few months since I came to Japan, I certainly cannot comment on the basic situation of an away match in Japan. That would also change depending on which stadium we are playing. I think we can find out which stadium will be difficult for us to play once I know how much pressure the supporters of our opponent team would give us.
Since I have never been to Iwata’s home ground, I cannot make comments such as playing on the Iwata’s home ground is difficult or we must change our play style. Let alone, changing our play style because of an away match itself is against our philosophy. It was true that the stadium was filled with many supporters when we played the away match against the Antlers. However, I did not think that our players were intimidated and performed weak-mindedly. To be honest with you, I observed several J. League matches before I observed two matches last November when I came to Japan last time. One of the matches I saw was a match played between the Jubilo and Gamba Osaka in Iwata.

(Takahara and Edmilson were playing on the front line during the training.)
I do not want to have some kind of argument with the press and I do not want to say what you think is not right. However, I have a different opinion in regards to the positioning of players. I did not think that I placed the two players on the front line whatsoever. Fundamentally speaking, players must change their positions flexibly. As such, regardless of the players such as Tatsuya, Edmilson, Takahara and Haraguchi for whom I am still waiting for his report and therefore I am not sure whether he can play in the match, it is important for the four players in the offense to change their positions accordingly during a match. For this reason, I do not have any plan of fixing the two players on the front line. I actually had a different formation in my mind during the game style training we had today.

(How important is it to score the first goal of the game?)
Football is a wonderful sport as everyone can have different opinions and have discussion regarding different opinions. Certainly, it becomes easer to play the rest of the game when the team scores the first goal. However, what is important is the result after ninety minutes into the game. No matter which team scores the first goal, chances are the team that gets the first point may lose the game in the end. I cannot say clearly that scoring the first goal is vital when playing the match against Jubilo Iwata. There are different types of challenges for every game until we find out the result ninety minutes after the start of the game.
When playing football, it is often the case that the team that scores the first goal ends up losing the game as the team becomes off-guard as a result. In a way, what I am saying may sound contradictive. Certainly, when a team can score the first goal, there is no doubt that it works in the benefit for the team. Having said that, depending on the mental condition of players as well as the team, scoring the first goal may make it difficult for players to play. When I was leading a team in the past, the team won the first point 83 minutes into the match. I felt that it was good for the team to score the first goal as late as 83 minutes into the game. Otherwise, it might have been difficult for my players to play. Since there were only seven minutes till the finish of the match, I felt relieved as there would be very little chances for our opponent to make counter attacks and steal a goal from us. It is important to score the first goal. However, when we score the first goal may be as important.

(According to the team schedule, the team seems to have a day off the day before the match next week.)
We will have an away match in Hiroshima and it will be impossible for us to come back to Urawa on the same day. As this is the case, we need to stay overnight on the match day. Considering the match against the Yokohama F-Marinos will be held on Sunday, I thought it would be best for us to have the Saturday off. The decision was made based on many different past experiences. We first have a match on Wednesday and come back to Urawa on Thursday. As we would be worn out, we will go to Ohara practice field directly and have a recovery training there. The next day, we will have both recovery and strategic training. However, I would like to give players as much rest time as possible for them to recover. For this reason, I decided to make that Saturday completely off. I think this will help players to recover from fatigue they would get playing a match against Hiroshima and allow the team to be at their best condition for the match against the Yokohama F-Marinos.
Over the weekend, we will play an away match for J.League. There will also be an away match on Wednesday. It will be held in Hiroshima and it will be quite far away. Then, we have another away match on next Sunday again. There will be three away matches. As such, it is necessary for me to make the decision in the end as to when I should give players time off by taking many things into consideration such as travel time.