“I would like to thank all our supporters who came over long way for us despite such bad weather. Yesterday, we found Hotaru (Yamaguchi) and Maru (Yusuke Maruhashi) weren’t able to play, and that made me a little worried, but the substitutes to them did great job. We gave the opening goal away in the 1st half and made us in tough situation, however the lads managed to create the good vibe to catch up during the 1st half. So it wasn’t too bad 1st half, and they were even more determined in the 2nd half. They showed their eagerness to win, and played firm game from defence to attack. And that brought us the come-from-behind victory. However, it was a bit regrettable that they couldn’t use all the chances they could use. It was the game they won by defending away all the way till the end. It was a very meaningful game. We don’t have so many matches left to play for both in the league and the cups, but we will try our best at each game one by one, aim to reach to the top in the league table, and for the cup games, like we triumphed the trophy last year, I would like to create the atmosphere to raise the trophy again this year.”
Q: Please look back your goal. Wasn’t that fantastic goal, by speed and course as ‘the only and just’?
“ARIGATOU (laughter), I received the pass, pretended to pass to Kiyo (Hiroshi Kiyotake), then used my favourite right foot and made the shoot. Because my foot caught the ball so well, it made the very difficult course for GK. The GK was good, so if the course wasn’t precise it would be stopped. It was a very happy goal for me too.”
■ Hiroshi Kiyotake
Q: Please tell us your strategy after you lost the opening goal.
“We allowed the opponent to come into between us, so tried to correct that, and shouted each other to ‘be calm’ and played. We played the game with our pace today, so there was no problem, I don’t think.”
Q: The absence of Hotaru Yamaguchi made some changes in combination of defence?
“Lack of the captain was suffering for the team, and also we didn’t have Maru (Maruhashi) either today, that made us 2 main players from the previous game were missing, but both Ei-chan (Eiichi Katayama) and Yama-chan (Tatsuya Yamashita) who played today were so up for it more than usual, and because of those guys’ active part of play brought us the victory. We had Yoichiro (Kakitani) and Kazuya (Yamamura) were back and having good competitions, I think we all possessed responsibility as an individual and played well today.”
Q: About your captain’s armband for today?
“I have worn once before at the Emperor’s Cup (3rd round), so felt quite comfortable, and played with calling out to other players.”
Q: Did you have a good comment about your leadership from the coach?
“I’m chattier than Hotaru. Hotaru leads the team by his play but I don’t play like he does. So I had no choice but speak out. I’m happy we won the game despite his absent, and I can give him a good handover when he’s back.”
Q: Now Yoichiro Kakitani’s back in the team this season, and that seems making the 3 guys at the front working very well in between?
“Yoichiro is so talented, and there’s no one who is better than him for handling ball and dribbling. I can see that even during our practice. Now Yoichiro’s back, and the soccer Yoichiro and Kenyu (Sugimoto) play together is different to Toshi (Toshiyuki Takagi) and Kenyu play together, so we have good different options now. Then we should have good preparations, and I hope everyone would be able to play good soccer with their own good features, whoever goes on the pitch to play.”
Q: It seems your condition’s getting better yourself too?
“My condition is slowly but surely getting better, and also performance-wise I feel I am playing constantly well at every games, so I am enjoying to play soccer right now.”