Thursday, 13 May 2021
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 Match info | Press Conference
Japan captain Usami: I felt under pressure

Yu Koshikawa of Japan

Japan Captain Daisuke Usami: I felt under pressure because it was a home game and our team lost yesterday. But by reflecting on my bad play yesterday, I could prepare for today's game.

I'm very happy to win this game. Our next game is not going to be in Japan but I will do my best.

(Re. Change of play)

I thought it was important how we could use the center and the middle, so I watched the Bulgarian center very carefully during the game and in the fourth and fifth set I was able to utilize the center and middle very well.

Japan No. 14, Tatsuya Fukuzawa: I am disappointed with my performance; it was very regrettable. Koshikawa played really well as my replacement and we were able to fight together, which resulted in today's victory. The next two games are against Russia and Cuba I have to change my mentality.

(Re. Impression seeing Koshikawa from outside the court) Koshikawa showed great good ability and it was a good chance to study the way he played.

I feel that in order to be a member of the starting lineup I have to stabilize my performances more.

Japan No. 17, Yu Koshikawa: Personally I only played in the two games in Tokyo and I was wondering what it would be like to join a team that has already competed in six matches. So I tried to communicate with every player during and outside practice and I was able to fit into the team.

I had a chance to play in both games in Tokyo and personally I think I played well. I'm satisfied with today's win and the fact that I was able to show something to the fans.

Until we get together as a team again, I will work on improving my condition.

Japan Coach Tatsuya Ueta: Yesterday, after the game we went back to the hotel and confirmed six rotations.

The S3 rotation was risky. We had a meeting and I decided to change the position of Fukuzawa an Yoneyama.

Yesterday, we lost successive points when two players were on the front line.

Koshikawa played well in his usual position.

I was happy to win against Bulgaria with power of all the players.

(What kind of game should team Japan play having completed eight games) The key point is our service. We have to improve our serves and aim better. Fukuzawa made 70 percent errors on his serves. Our players are short, so we need to play accurately and correctly. Our blocks have been getting better, but we need to improve the individual skills of each player.

Bulgaria No. 11, Vladimir Nikolov: First I want to say congratulations to the Japanese team because they performed really well today and deserved to win.

Except in the second set and at the start of the third set when they played badly and made mistakes, in all the other sets they performed at a really high level. It was difficult to recognize the combinations of the two setters and I especially want to congratulate them because they changed their attack tactics completely from yesterday to today, and this was the key to their victory.

On the other side, we are still struggling to find our rhythm of playing; we have difficulties in facing sideouts. Sometimes we are performing well and sometimes we make very easy mistakes in a row and this is not allowing us to play well constantly.

And last but not least, the Japanese players made such spectacular defense at times that we became nervous. We are not in the habit of having our spikes defended like this and it is also a positive side of the Japanese team.

(Re. Return of Koshikawa) There was no pressure because we've known for three or four years that he is the best player in the Japan team. We were prepared for his style of play, but it is true he was really efficient and helped his team a lot. But I think the problems I told you before were more important than him coming to the court.

(Re. Players from his former Japanese club team Toray) I'm very satisfied that Toray won the Emperor's Cup and the championship. I left friends here and was cheering for the team. I'm really impressed by the progress of Yoneyama – a player of his height could never play for the Bulgarian national team, but he's doing really well. And, of course, Tomimatsu – they were the basis of the success of Toray and also played really well last year. I'm happy for them.

Bulgaria Coach Silvano Prandi: I must compliment Japan because they played a very good match, especially in the fourth and fifth sets. They reduced the number of mistakes – only five in the last two sets.

And I'm disappointed because in the first set we made a lot of mistakes – 10 mistakes directly. That's too much.

We improved our sideout today in relation to yesterday's match but not enough to win.

I suppose Japan also improved their skill and quality of play, so my compliments to Japan.

(Key to the loss) Because they played better than us, especially in the fourth and fifth sets. In the first and second sets, we made many mistakes and they made many in the second set, but their defense and their transition during the fourth and fifth sets were at a very high level. Because their defense was better than ours and they were able to transform this defense into attack better than us.

(Re. Return of Koshikawa) He helps his team, but every Japanese player did, especially Usami, who was very good today – also in blocking because he touched a lot of our attacks.


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