Gamba Osaka captain Yasuhito Endo believes the chance to defend the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup final is a unique opportunity, but urges his team-mates not to become obsessed with it.
The Japanese Treble winners will face Kashima Antlers for the trophy on Saturday on Saitama Stadium, with Kenta Hasegawa’s men looking to lift the trophy again on the way to defending their other titles.
However, despite admitting that the side naturally feels a certain amount of pressure contesting a fixture like the one ahead, Endo also stated they needed to approach the fixture with a cool head.
Of course it’s a chance to win the first big title of the year,” he said. “If you approach every match in a consistent emotional state then you’ll get results.
“I’m not saying that we won’t feel differently if we win it or don’t, but that sort of thing shouldn’t affect us as a team. I don’t think that nervousness helps me play better.
“Of course I play with the feeling of wanting to win in any match, but I also think the odds are always 50-50. If you’re not fixated on winning the title, your emotions won’t be as effected in the match itself.
“I’m excited. Any tournament final has a unique atmosphere and tension. On Saturday I want us to play like we always do, I want to play like I always do, and I want to enjoy the experience.
“We didn’t set out to win the Treble last year, we focused on playing one match at a time and we ended up at that destination.
“Instead of saying ‘it’s the final, so we have to play our best’, I hope we can play just as we’ve played until now.”
A triumph at the weekend would see Gamba lift the Nabisco Cup for the third time in their history.