Japan boss Vahid Halilhodzic defended his team’s showings on the back of finishing last at the recently-concluded East Asian Cup.
The 2013 winners had set out to defend their trophy but faltered in Wuhan, China, their 1-1 draw against the hosts in rainy conditions eventually leaving them without a victory to their name.
But after being on the receiving end of flak, Halilhodzic has now called on his critics to be realistic and remain fair in their judgement of the team.
“Wherever you go, any manager you ask will want more time to prepare,” the 63-year-old began to reporters.
“Some journalists have written that I’m making excuses and I’m a little upset about that. I more or less understand football and I want them to understand what it takes to train an entire team.
“In terms of the quality of play itself and the effort the players showed, tonight [against China] may have been the best match out of all three.
“But I knew beforehand that we would be able to accomplish this much. Physically we were able to recover from the second match and play 11-on-11 in training.
“We had chances to score goals and it’s a little disappointing that we didn’t win. It was a draw but I want to praise my players.”
The former Algeria boss has taken charge of seven matches since being appointed Japan coach in March, winning three and losing just one encounter.