Third day at Miyazaki training camp-Team Manager Finke  

Comment from Team Manager Finke after finishing the Third day of the Miyazaki training camp
We had a very good training session today. The university team we played against today challenged our team players with their high motivation and abundant energy. Therefore, it was a very good training session for us. We set several handicaps for ourselves during the match today. One of them was not to play long balls and the players stack to that tactic for most of the game. Another one was not to have the usual type of corner kick. Even though it is very difficult to do so, I wanted my team players to use only grounder passes and score goals by constructing the game from the back. We achieved this aim very well today.
As we are still at the preparation period, it is not the time for us to simply divide the team into two groups such as team A and B and concentrate on strategic practice. All team players are given the same load and we practice together as a team. This is the phase we are going through at the moment.
To me, as a team manger, today’s training practice was a far treck (training run) using a soccer ball rather than a usual game. We can do this type of training in the woods. But, we were able to do this kind of practice today using a ball.
As far as I am aware, there are no players who got injured at this point in time. I am certain that we can concentrate on our practice tomorrow as well.
(What are the upcoming challenges?)
There are several strategic challenges and we are tying to address these challenges. However, we should not forget that we are building our physical foundation during this camp training. For this reason, I regard today’s game as physical training using a soccer ball rather than strategic training. We will work on the strategic issues after this camp.
(After the practice session this morning, players were eagerly discussing their plays with each other and some were having discussions with you. Was that something you had expected?)
We had a meeting last night. I showed some recorded footage to the players to discuss many issues. The instructions I gave to the players during today’s practice session were points I had already discussed with them last night. Having the players voluntarily discuss their strategic issues is something I like to see. I also encourage them to talk to me or the other coaches if they have some questions or something they want to clarify. This is because having discussions and understanding each other will lead to a better result. For this reason, I see today’s discussions held among team members after the morning session as a very positive development.
(It seems as though you are determined to change the way the Urawa Reds players have played soccer over the past few years. How will you improve the way they have played soccer which is ingrained in them such as their defensive style and lack in offensive approach or lack of third player’s movement in the field?)
To be honest, I do not want to comment on what happened in the past as I am afraid what I say may be taken as criticisms. We must focus on the future. Of course, I have my own style but this does not mean that I totally deny the past Urawa Reds style or approach. Every approach has a good element to it. I can take all the good elements from the past and add my own essence to them. Having said that, what I can assure is that we will take definitely a different approach from last year in terms of playing our game with a four back system as well as taking a different approach in creating the game. I do not believe that anyone would agree with the idea that Urawa Reds has nothing to change when looking at how they played last year. However, it is difficult to answer the question in a precise manner as I am not suggesting that there is something wrong with the 3-5-2 system. That being said, there is a good reason for why 98 percent of the soccer team around the world play their games with a four back system.
At the same time, is it fare to say that the reason why great and successful teams that have won big world matches were able to win championships just by having a better system than other teams like in the case of the Argentine team? What is certain is that such successful teams had excellent team players such as Messi. It will be quite possible to achieve successful results with a 3 back system just like the Argentine team did if you have fantastic players like Messi. I am not saying that a 3-5-2 system is wrong. I am not tying to criticize the predecessors who used the system. However, I think that a four back system can offer much new potential for the team and for that reason I would like to challenge this season with a four back system.
(You are trying to introduce European soccer to the team. Is it possible for the Urawa Reds team members to play the soccer you want them to play?)
As it has only been a few days since we started our training together, it is difficult to make a detailed comment in regards to that question. But, I think that the J-League has generally been paying attention to top European leagues and has developed aiming to become like them. As such, it is natural for them to incorporate various elements from European soccer. Looking at the mentality, skills and strategies of Japanese soccer players, I feel that conditions are set for Japanese players to play modern soccer played in Europe here in Japan. Therefore it is possible for the Urawa Reds team members to play the soccer I want them to play.
(How well did strikers play during today’s practice match?)
They were playing flexibly. They were not bad overall. I will request them to play more fluidly from now on. The strikers should be able to create some space for mid line players from the second and third rows by moving and clearing space for them. This is the characteristics of mobility.
(Which players made the most impression on you during the today’s match?)
We divided the team into two groups by mixing young players and those players who have experience rather than simply dividing the team into A and B. I did this because I wanted to see each team player’s individual characteristic. I would not name any players specifically here, however, I was able to see my team players in a very interesting way.
(How was Takahara’s play compared to when he was in Germany?)
As I only saw him play for 45 minutes today, I can not make any judgment based on this. But, looking at how he has been playing so far, I can say that he has high motivation and he participates in practice ambitiously. I can tell that he is trying to make great results through making good efforts. Please do not pay too much attention to today’s game nor the following practice matches because the true abilities of the members are not yet shown. It varies greatly depending on how each of them prepared themselves during the off time. You must allow another 3 to 4 weeks for me to be able to answer this type of question.
(Koyama Tetsuji, Team Coordinator of the Japanese National Team visited the Miyazaki camp.)
I am very pleased that he paid a visit to the camp. He came to see Abe and Tulio who are suffering from injuries and I feel this shows his consideration for valuing communication between the association and our club as well as the association’s willingness to establish closer connections between us.
It is important for the team players to prepare as well as they can and it is necessary for us to create the best environment for them to do so. When team players can regain their full potential, it is possible for them to play well in the national team as well. Players who are selected to play for the national team are very important for our team as well. For this reason, we will do our best to provide as much support as necessary for them.
Sometimes we have different views from the association regarding some issues. It is important for both of us to work in cooperation to achieve mutual benefits. We may come to disagreement at times. But, when this is the case, it is important for us to have good discussions and we should not reveal to outsiders what disagreements we have. Regardless of our opinions, the association and the club must remain and unite as a team.
(Abe left the Japanese National Team training camp half way through and join the Urawa Reds camp.) I had a conversation with Abe last night. As I had good information with me, I was able to have a constrictive conversation with him. At this point in time, I understand that he needs to have a special practice program rather than joining in the team’s practice. We have our excellent staff members here at the camp with us. I believe he can rehabilitate himself well with them. We will do our best so that he can make a quick recovery and come back to the team practice.