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Miller focused ahead of JEF’s day of reckoning

by Andrew Mckirdy

NARASHINO, Chiba Pref. — JEF United Chiba manager Alex Miller is refusing to be distracted by events elsewhere in the J. League as his side makes a last-ditch attempt to avoid relegation on Saturday.

Nothing less than a win at home to FC Tokyo will save JEF from the drop, although even that will not be enough should fellow strugglers Jubilo Iwata and Tokyo Verdy avoid defeat in their matches against Omiya Ardija and championship-chasing Kawasaki Frontale, respectively.

But Miller is concentrating only on his own team, dismissing thoughts of his rivals as a waste of time.

“It doesn’t interest me at that stage,” he said after a training session this week. “We have to do our job first of all and then only at the end of our game will we consider thinking about other teams.

“Up to then it’s of no consequence to us, because if we don’t win then it’s no use knowing what happens elsewhere. We have to concentrate just on ourselves. We have to be totally focused on ourselves.”

JEF has a tough assignment against an FC Tokyo side gunning for a slot in next season’s Asian Champions League, but Miller knows his side cannot afford to let the visitors take the initiative.

“We have to play to a good level and win the game,” he said. “At the end of the day we have got one more game to go and we’ve got to go and try and get the three points. Anything less and we can’t survive, so we have to go and be positive.”

But the Chiba side will have to do without defensive stalwart Eddy Bosnar, suspended after a red card in last week’s 3-2 defeat to Shimizu S-Pulse.

Miller concedes the Australian will be badly missed, but has confidence in replacement Tomonobu Hayakawa.

“Bosnar is a big loss,” Miller said. “He’s got good physicality and height, and he’s been playing in a steady back four that’s been continually the same.

“He’s also got good expertise in set ball situations, so yes he will be missed but Hayakawa has been desperate to get his chance.”