Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Winless JEF United sack manager Kuze

Winless JEF United sack manager Kuze.
Josip Kuze became the second manager in the J.League first division to be sacked in the 2008 season, following Holger Osieck's marching orders from the Urawa Reds after just two matches.
JEF United Chiba announced on their website that they had terminated the 55-year-old Croatian's contract on Wednesday without providing further details. It is not immediately known who will replace Kuze.
JEF are winless in 11 matches and are in last place with two points from two draws.
We caught up with Kuze following United's 3-0 loss to the Urawa Reds at Saitama Stadium on Tuesday, less than 24 hours before his firing.

Did you think you could have gotten something out of today's match with the score locked at 0-0 at halftime?
"I'm disappointed, of course. We lost. They scored three goals. We have the right organization but we made mistakes and gave the opponent the advantage."

And now you're 10 points out of 16th place (just above the drop zone).
"It's a difficult situation and the other clubs have big advantages. We have only two points, we are analyzing everything, we need new players."

The Japanese papers cited sources within JEF who said you were planning to step down if you didn't win today. So these rumors were obviously not true?
"Newspapers always speculate. I was talking with the club and we are talking about all the possibilities. They say no way, I will stay. I want to stay and they want me to stay. We are thinking positively. Of course we have to analyze things and first of all we want to get more players. That's all I know."

So the team told you they were happy with your performance?
"I didn't say that, I am just trying to be objective. In my opinion we are working hard. As a coach I try all day to analyze things. The players are happy, the coach is happy, everything is OK.
But I wasn't prepared to come here and find that we lost four or five players in the midfield before our preseason even started. But even that is not the problem. In my opinion it's because we had many injured players and many players are slowly coming back into the team. For example (Ryota) Aoki, he started playing only three weeks ago. (Seiichiro) Maki has a problem. (Shohei) Ikeda started two weeks ago. Reinaldo played only one game. (Takuya) Kokeguchi also, and (Yuta) Baba. All those players, one by one they have been coming to the team and that's a problem."

So in your opinion the mood at the club is good?
"It's not a bad atmosphere. We have a good working atmosphere. We are trying to make a more enthusiastic mood and to make a competitive and winning spirit. But everything is OK--in the dressing room and in the training. The only bad thing is that we cannot win."

What needs to be done to stop the rot?
"In my opinion it is time to analyze everything after the game against Oita (on May 10). Because after that we have a break. It's time to sit down and figure out what's the best thing for JEF. Anyway, I have a lot of experience. I want to stay. I think I can turn things around. But I have demands. To make a good team, we need to change some positions on the team and bring in some strong figures."

Do you have any players in mind?
"Yes, of course, but it is a difficult time for foreigners right now because we can't do anything until the first of June. And for Japanese players also we are talking to some clubs but they also want to finish that first stage and then they can say for certain who they can or can't trade away."

What's JEF's biggest problem right now?
"Our problem is our defense. In my opinion we have no intelligence in defense, soccer intelligence. Without intelligence you can't make a compact defense. Individually they have power, they can cover and everything, but thinking and reading the game is a problem. Correcting things during the game is a problem. And we need one leader in defense with intelligence."

Your team put up quite a fight today for the first hour. They seem more motivated than in previous games.
"This bad situation is motivation for our players. And they know that now each game is so important and so I think our attitude is OK, and our organization is good, but individual mistakes put us in a difficult situation. And that's difficult to learn. That's a problem. Can they learn it or can they not learn it? And how long will it take for them to learn it? We have no time to wait."

Copyright: C.G. Williams & Soccerphile.com

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