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The club's head coach is aiming to finish in the top nine this season after seeing Cerezo return to J1 after an absence of three years

New manager Cerezo Osaka manager Yoon Jung-Hwan previously played with the club for three seasons between 2000 and 2002. And now the legend has come back to his old nest. He will lead the club on their return to J1 after an absence of three years, and has declared ‘we aim to be within the top nine this season.’

When he was at Sagan Tosu FC, Yoon Jung-Hwan was training players three times a day, and now at Cerezo he has started with a very strict routine. On January 13 and 14, there were three training sessions, the first one started from 6:50am, the next one from 9:50am, and the last at 3pm. Some established members like Teruyuki Moniwa said ‘It’s hard…’ with a bitter smile.

Strict discipline is also one of the new leader’s features. After the morning session on the 14th, he called the captain Yoichiro Kakitani and vice-captain Hotaru Yamaguchi, and passed some words onto them. ‘I gave them some points to improve their professionalism, like punctuality’ Jung-Hwan said.

This season, Cerezo fans are feeling a different atmosphere from the last few years. In fact, there is a tense feeling in the air during the training, it must be the common awareness of ‘never wanting to fail ever again’ throughout the club.

Yoon Jung-Hwan was also asked what style of approach he would take: "I am testing each player’s character at the moment. After that, I will build up the style that would be able to bring us the maximum result."

The testing process will take place at the Thai camp at end of January, and they will probably begin tactical preparations during the Miyazaki camp in February, but a ‘Solid defence and Swift attack’ style will very likely be one of the approaches they take, keeping with the club's tradition.

Also rebuilding a defence which conceded 46 goals last season in J2 is a very important assignment. It is very encouraging that ‘the guardian deity’ Kim Jin-hyeon stayed despite rumours of a transfer. They still have Tatsuya Yamashita, the main defender who commanded the backline last season. On top of that, having tall new Croat defender Matej Jonjic from Incheon United FC should be of great benefit.

There has been so many manager and player transfers happening in this season’s J1 that the league should be very competitive. Cerezo also have a good chance for a big breakthrough, and should be aiming for the highest possible ranking.