The last word

Coach John Kosmina gives his final thoughts ahead of the Reds’ decisive match against Gamba Osaka tonight.

Coach John Kosmina gives his final thoughts ahead of the Reds- decisive match against Gamba Osaka tonight.

The team has had a couple of days in Osaka now and the weather is much better than it was in Tashkent and Pohang, so how have the players settled in? I was happy with the way we trained, particularly on Monday night. It wasn-t an arduous trip here, we had a great stop off in Malaysia at a fantastic hotel and got to put our feet up. The quality has been good in the two sessions that we-ve had, they were a little bit rusty yesterday morning but that was to be expected, but the mood around the camp is healthy and they-re in a good space at the moment so hopefully that will carry over into the game tonight.

Know there is at least one change with Iain Fyfe coming in for Osama Malik, which way are you leaning in regards to whether to go with Bruce Djite or Sergio van Sijk up front? I-m going to leave Bruce there. I-ve discussed it with Serge and I actually really empathise with the guy and appreciate the efforts that he-s put in because he knows that I-m not subject to change when things are working unless we have to make changes like we have with Fyfey. But if it ain-t broke don-t fix it and I-ve said that a million times and Sergio understands that. His training has improved over the last couple of weeks despite the fact that he hasn-t been playing so he-s not far from pushing Bruce out if Bruce isn-t up to speed tonight.

There are quite a number of experienced players in the squad that you have brought over. Do you think that will help you achieve the right result tonight? You bring your best players and you need experienced players when you come to places like this and into games like this. I-ve been pretty happy with the team-s progression, there has been solid improvement game by game, we-ve seen it across training and it has translated into the game situations even though they are two weeks apart. Maybe the break in between has actually been good for us because it gives the players a little bit of time to get away and not think about football, and then they can come back in and get completely focused on what the job is.

In contrast, Gamba are expected to field a host of younger players tonight. What-s your plan of attack with how you approach the game? We do what we do and we play our game. We have to be aware of what Gamba are capable of, they-re a good side. They lost to Pohang a couple of weeks ago but still probably made the better of the chances on the night - things just haven-t fallen for them. We-ve heard they-re going to rest players but for us it-s not a matter of what they do, it-s a matter of what we do, and you don-t know if some younger guys will come into the side and try to prove a point to maintain their first team spot, so they-re unknown quantities to us, it-s hard to prepare for that but if we focus on what we do and do it well and consistently then the game should go in our favour.

How difficult is it coming up against a team that has nothing to lose? They-re always the ones where you cop the sucker punch but I think the players are in a really good frame of mind and the outcome here is that a win will get us a home Round of 16 match in two weeks time and that-s what we want.

Have you tried to emphasise to the players to treat this game like a do-or-die encounter which is what you will face in the Round of 16? They know there-s a game in two weeks, there-s no two ways about that. Every game should be do-or-die, that-s the way I think, it-s the way I coach and it-s the way I talk to players. You-ve got to get outcomes, even in every training session, it-s about winning and that-s how you develop a winning mentality and we want to win tonight because winning is a good habit and that will make sure we get a home final and will give us every chance of getting to the Quarter finals and that would be a fantastic achievement for the club if we can do that.