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2009 FIVB Women's Grand Champions Cup
Tokyo - Fukuoka, Japan
10 - 15 November 2009

 Match info | Press Conference
It was a hard win and hard tournament: Barbolini

Italy Coach Massimo Barbolini

I think today for us was like the whole tournament – very hard. We didn't start in perfect condition because we started to prepare late for this tournament, but we won the first three matches. We then had two very hard matches – against Brazil yesterday and today against Japan. I must congratulate the Japan team because they played a very, very good match. Today, like always, I can say I am very proud of my team because they fight, even when we don't play so well sometimes. But they absolutely want to win and for a coach, it's very nice when you have a team that plays this way.

(What about Japan today?)

I'd like to talk about Italy...

Japan played a good match, like they did against Brazil. Yesterday, probably they did not play so well. It was an important game for Japan because if they had won they would have had a chance to win the tournament. They played better today, but I think Italy played better because we played even with our problems and in the end we won.

(What does the title mean to you and Italy)

For me and the team it's a very important victory because we said we would go to Japan to do our best against teams we hadn't fought against this year. It's the first time for the women's team to play this tournament, so I'm really happy for my players.

(How did you manage to win despite not being in top condition)

For us it was difficult because immediately after the European Championship, the players played four games in the Italian League, so we had no time to work or rest. They are very good players who want to sacrifice themselves for the Italian team. And they have shown that they are not only good players, but also good people. It's very satisfying for me because they always want to do their best for the Italian team.

Italy No. 12 Francesca Piccinini

Today's game was really hard because the Japanese defense was so good and that made it a really difficult match to win. But our defense was also really good and that helped us to get the win. I think I should apologize to the Japanese people.

(Japan has a new coach; do you see any changes in the team and has any player left an impression on you?)

I don't see so much difference, because the Japan teams always have a strong defense. And I can't pick out any individual player – I think the Japan teams always play as a unit and they all played well.

Japan Coach Masayoshi Manabe

We were close to winning today, but we made some errors and couldn't make it. We need to avoid spikes being stopped by a single block. Although we played well at times, when we gave up points consecutively, it broke our rhythm, so that is something we must work on in the future.

(How do you see your six months in charge so far?)

I told my players they must get to know world-class players and teams, because if we know the world level, we will be able to come up with a strategy to win against the strongest teams. Since becoming coach, we had the Grand Prix and we have gained speed, but not quite enough yet. To beat world-class teams we need speed, then accuracy, then to play without errors. These are our three goals. We also need to improve our reception.

Japan Captain Erika Araki

We just couldn't clinch the game today. Yesterday, we could feel the power difference with the Dominicans.

(Italy's coach said Japan played better today; what do you think the difference was?)

Yesterday's game was not so good. The Dominicans were better than us and the game was played at their rhythm. We couldn't play our own volleyball. After this loss, we were really disappointed and frustrated. As today's game against Italy was our final game, we talked about it last night and determined to do the best we could. Although we lost the game, we played better than yesterday and did our best, so that was good.

(This is Japan's last game of the season; how do you evaluate the six months under the new coach?)

The new coach wants more speed and has new strategies, so it's not easy to follow his instructions. We're getting there little by little, but we are still not good enough. Next season, we have the World Championship, so we will make that our new challenge.

Japan No. 3 Yoshie Takeshita

It was just down to one or two points. If we could have scored more points in the first half of the games, the result may have been different. This year we have a new team and have tried new things, so it's good for me to have these new experiences.

Japan No. 12 Saori Kimura

We lost the see-saw first set and I think that if we could have clinched that, things may have turned out differently. I'm really disappointed because we got to deuce. If we had done something before it got to deuce, things may have gone better.

Overall, I'm not satisfied with the way I played. I don't feel I contributed to the team wins or good results, but this competition is over and we need to learn from this failure and use it for the future.


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