NAGOYA – New Nagoya Grampus manager Akira Nishino vowed to turn the former J.League champions back into contenders at his unveiling on Friday.
“I’ve been on the Asian stage, the world stage and I don’t think this team is too far off,” said former Gamba Osaka boss Nishino, who has 244 coaching victories, the most in J1 history.
“No one can change things overnight with some magic spell. You’ve got to take care of things one step at a time,” he said.
Over a decade at Gamba, the 58-year-old Nishino won a bag of trophies, including the J.League and Asian Champions League titles, molding the Panasonic club into giants of J1.
Nishino, who has been given a two-year contract, has been entrusted with the task of reviving a talented squad that finished 11th last season in the sixth and final year under Dragan Stojkovic.
Nishino himself is looking to get his managerial career back on track after being sacked by Vissel Kobe early on in the 2012 season and out of a job this year.
Grampus have slashed their payroll by 500 million yen, but the new man in charge is relishing the challenge of getting the Toyota-backed club to play his stylish, attacking soccer.
“There’s definitely a lot of pressure on me,” said Nishino, who has also taken Kashiwa Reysol to the Nabisco Cup title.
“My predecessor was a legend. I’ll inherit what worked and change what didn’t work. I know how difficult it can be for a successor because I’ve spent 10 years at one club before.
“I was dying to come back. There aren’t too many big clubs in the league, and I was fortunate enough to receive an offer from one of them. I’m honored by this opportunity.
“I can’t promise where we’re going to finish in the table, but we need to be able to perform at the highest level on a consistent basis and get people used to my methods,” he said.