Ishii: Interleague Cup helping Antlers accomplish our pre-season goals

Ishii: Interleague Cup helping Antlers accomplish our pre-season goals

Kashima Antlers manager Masatada Ishii spoke to reports on Tuesday afternoon following his team’s 4-2 come-from-behind win over Suphanburi in the J.League Asia Challenge in Thailand.

Doubles from Yuma Suzuki and new arrival Pedro Junior helped the reigning Japanese champions overcome stiff opposition at Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok.

“It’s a different environment from the J.League and we’ve only been raining for a week, but I’m happy that we avoided any serious injuries and that everyone demonstrated their effort on the pitch,” Ishii said. 

“People in Japan were able to watch this match through DAZN and I’m glad that we could send a win to Kashima Antlers’ fans.

“Our goals for this training camp are to improve our fitness as well as get the incoming players to understand our tactics. This tournament is a good opportunity for us to accomplish both of those and we’d like to end it with a second win on Thursday.”

Last season’s double-winning manager was positive on the outlook of 20-year-old Suzuki, who scored eight goals in the 2016 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League season.

“(Suzuki) had shoulder issues at the end of last season so his appearances were limited, but as long as that situation improves he’ll get more playing time as he’s a very skilled player,” Ishii commented.

“(Meanwhile) our new players still need to improve their fitness, but once they do I expect they’ll add even more to what we were able to accomplish last season.”