Kashima Antlers manager Masatada Ishii as well as goal-scorers Shuhei Akasaki and Mu Kanazaki spoke to the media on Thursday night following the team’s 2-1 win over Auckland City FC in the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016 play-in match.
The newly-crowned J.League champions proved too much for the New Zealand side and Ishii was eager to recognize his men’s achievement even as he stated improvement was needed, saying: “We moved the ball around freely in their penalty area but needed to put more effort into finishing with a shot.
“The players were sluggish in the first half, and in retrospect they might have problems with their conditioning.
“They’re all very invested in this tournament and mentally they’re ready, but physically they might not be at 100 per cent.”
“Shoma (Doi) sent me a good cross on the winner,” Kanazaki said. “We have to keep winning and absolutely can’t play like we did today.
“In the first half we looked very slow, but we have to remember that we’re representing Japan as hosts and fight harder.”
“(Ryota) Nagaki set me up with a great pass so all I had to do was take the shot,” Akasaki added.
“I saw we had trouble finishing in the first half so I wanted to focus on that when I came on and create more chances.
“In the quarter-final we want to show the world our strength and play better than we did today.”