Despite a resounding 4-0 win over Thailand, Japan’s players still see plenty of room for improvement.
The result left the Samurai Blue on top of Group B in 2018 World Cup qualifying thanks to goals by Shinji Kagawa, Shinji Okazaki, Yuya Kubo and Maya Yoshida.
Nevertheless, Masato Morishige felt the scoreline belies the difficulty of the match and thinks the Samurai Blue still need to work on building play better.
“We needed a result, I think the fact that we earned it was a positive,” said the FC Tokyo defender.
“But we can still improve our combinations, and we need to move the ball around smoothly and improve our build-up before the goal.”
“We were looking to get the ball and quickly pass the ball behind their defensive line. But it’s tough to do that for 90 minutes, and sometimes you need to settle down when you have possession.
“We have to learn how to use these 90 minutes and control the match.”
Midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake was quick to praise Japan’s opponents Thailand, who never gave up despite the deficit.
“Even after they gave up goals they kept attacking. Thailand played good football, and it was difficult for us to respond to their pressure,” the Cerezo Osaka star admitted.
With three matches left in the round, Japan lead Saudi Arabia on goal difference with 16 points.