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Manager Oliveira places faith in forwards

by James Mulligan

Kashima Antlers coach Oswaldo Oliveira has tipped new striker Marquinhos and former national team player Atsushi Yanagisawa to form an explosive partnership in the J. League.

News photo
Atsushi Yanagisawa (left) of the Antlers is expected to form a lethal partnership with new signing Marquinhos this season.
KYODO PHOTO

Oliveira, the replacement for Paulo Autuori who left after leading Kashima to a sixth-place finish in the league, told The Japan Times that he has observed compatriot Marquinhos and Yanagisawa closely in training and likes what he sees.

“Yanagisawa and Marquinhos have been practicing well together,” Oliveira said.

“They will develop a partnership during the league because what brings the communication is the game.

News photo
Oswaldo Oliveira
YOSHIAKI MIURA PHOTO

“Both of them are very experienced players. I hope they can succeed and transform the goals they scored in practice into goals in this season.”

Marquinhos arrived in the J. League in 2001 with Tokyo Verdy and has since played for Yokohama F. Marinos, JEF United Chiba and Shimizu S-Pulse, where he scored 11 goals last season.

Former national team player Yanagisawa, who broke a bone in his foot early last season and scored just four league goals in his first year back in Japan after time in Italy, said he hopes playing with Marquinhos can trigger a goal rush for Kashima, starting from the first game away to Kawasaki Frontale on Saturday.

“Marquinhos is a player who possesses outstanding skill, and I think as time goes on our combination play will get better and better,” said Yanagisawa.

“The coach (Oliveira) has been drilling it into us since he arrived that the opening match of the season is the first cup final, and he has told us how important it is to work our socks off to wear the shirt for that game.

“It was great for me to score a hat trick on the opening day of last year (against Sanfrecce Hiroshima), but it wasn’t a great team performance. Hopefully it will be a good game for both me and the team this time.”

Oliveira, coach of Brazil’s Corinthians before arriving in Japan, said his positive first impressions were not limited to his forwards.

“All the players I have are very hard workers, very disciplined and they accept everything I say in the training session,” Oliveira said.