“I am very happy to have many supporters come along for us, and we won the match. Since we brought the new system in, our lads have been playing really firmly. Despite the hard schedule, they are working very hard with good concentration and tolerance. We only scored from set-piece today, and the goal from set-piece becomes so important for the games under such hot weather like today. We played good game. We are on our good pace at the moment, so by pushing more while we are on the pace, I believe we can catch up to the higher ranks. It won’t be easy of course, but the players have regained their confident back, and also we achieved to have a clean-sheet match again after a while. It’s important for us to continue our effort. If the lads can maintain their high spirit and play, we can play good games against any teams. As we have to face the Emperor’s Cup and other matches coming soon, we’ll try to recover quickly, and keep working hard for the next game.”
■ Yusuke Maruhashi
Q: Please look back at the opening goal?
“I saw an empty spot at near goal, so wondered if I go in. Then I entered, 1st time for me (laughter). My header goal was the first one since I became a professional too. That’s great (laughter).”
Q: Usually you are the one to assist, but how do you feel now about you had a shot?
“It made me re-recognize how great Souza’s strikes are (laughter).”
Q: It made you the tie-top scorer in the team with 6 goals?
“Very happy about it (laughter). I’d love to score more when I have chances.”
Q: With the new system, you may have more opportunities to involve in attacks at high position?
“Yes, it is. I really enjoy it, and it’s rewarding to join the attacks.”
Q: Today’s match was your 200th appearance in J1 league. How do you feel about this number?
“I shouldn’t satisfy with this number, keep working hard to appear more games, and want to contribute to the team.”
■ Matej Jonjic
Q: After the opening goal, the opponent attacked for quite a long time, didn’t they?
“They made some shots from outside of penalty area, but we didn’t give them any fatal chances, and we were controlling well after our opening goal. I think we conducted the game well. We failed to do so at recent matches, so I’m glad that we did today.”
Q: You didn’t allow them to come in, and cleared crosses from sides.
“That’s right. I cleared them all. We assessed the opponent prior to the match, and knew they send crosses from side and many long balls, so I think we defended well over all.”
Q: And your 2nd goal became the deciding, didn’t it?
“Yeah (laughter), I’m so glad that I scored the additional goal at that timing to decide the match. Actually, I said to Maruhashi to ‘kick the ball to far-side’ before he took the CK, I’m glad he listened to me (laughter).”
Q: Did you sense that the near was marked?
“Yes. The opponent put 2 stones at near-side, and also we’ve been targeting at the near all the time so tried to do something different at the end. I’m glad it worked (laughter).”
Q: Maruhashi who scored the opening said the quality of your kick was fantastic.
“I’m quite surprised he entered there (laughter), it was very unusual. Usually, it’s Kenyu or Jonjic, so everyone was surprised. Probably that’s why even opponent didn’t mark him? (laughter)”
Q: The opponent must have studied about your strategy to aim near-side, so how could you still score the goal?
“The quality of my corner kick is strong, fast and goes down, so it’s difficult ball to clear. For both goalkeeper and defenders, it difficult to clear. On top of that, we have strong players who goes in and finish, so we score through their skills. I am glad that Maru (Maruhashi) finished it today. It’s definitely this season’s best eleven for sure.”