Hideo Hashimoto has told Cerezo Osaka that they must raise their game and overcome last season’s shortcomings quickly if they are to mount a strong promotion challenge.
The midfielder, a close-season signing from Vissel Kobe, was frustrated with Cerezo’s display in their goalless friendly against J2 rivals Gunma.
“We were unable to score, we buckled under pressure and we let a few of their counter-attacks cause us problems,” Hashimoto said. “We had plenty of chances to score and need to focus on improving.
“We have played better than that. But my impression is that we’re gradually getting better and building up our skills.”
A much-changed Cerezo team featuring new signings Keiji Tamada, Kunimitsu Sekiguchi and Teruyuki Moniwa created chances but, apart from the odd menacing moment caused by the lively Ryo Nagai, never really threatened.
New coach Paulo Autuori has used 27 players so far in pre-season games as he looks to find the right blend for Cerezo’s opening match, against Tokyo Verdy on March 8.