Yokohama F.Marinos midfielder Kosuke Nakamachi expressed his surprise at the level of their Thai opponents in the J.League Asia Challenge 2017.
Erick Mombaerts’ side won both their matches against first Bangkok United and then Suphanburi FC, netting four goals without reply against the latter with Keita Endo netting a brace.
However, Nakamachi believes the scoreline belies the quality of their defeated opponents, and praised their skill as vital to the progress of football in the region as well as Asia.
“Thai teams are physically strong, fast and play at a surprisingly high level,” the 31-year-old said after the match.
“It was a very intense match - they pressured us in the first half but despite that we were able to adjust our play and come out on top in the end.
“We have a lot of young players this season and our success in this tournament should give them a foundation, inspiring us to aim higher this season.
‘We also have a lot of veterans and we will carry on the legacy of F.Marinos. Together with the youngsters, we’ll build a new team.
“I was a bit worried about playing a pre-season match in Thailand so early in the year, but this has been a very good experience for us.
“Through these exchanges, we can improve the level of football in Asia and also share Japanese football with the rest of the world.”