Marinos Sailing Smoothly

Yokohama F.Marinos have been doing it quietly, but the City Football Group-backed club are edging towards the top of J1… (日本語版はこちらです)

Football Channel, 23rd June, 2017

Yokohama F.Marinos are J1’s form side and head into Sunday’s match against Vissel Kobe on a run of five games unbeaten, four of which, including their last three, have produced victories.

The club has climbed to fifth in the table as a result, five points behind leaders Kashiwa Reysol – who themselves are unbeaten in nine – and only three adrift of second placed Cerezo Osaka, who likewise haven’t lost in five.

Marinos’ most recent win was the late 1-0 away to FC Tokyo last weekend, which followed on from an impressive three points against Kawasaki Frontale – another side widely expected to be challenging at the top of the table again.

“1-0 is also enough, and I think we are learning a lot,” Quenten Martinus said after Jun Amano’s 88th minute strike decided the game at Ajinomoto Stadium. Even so, the Curacao forward knows the team can’t bask in the glory of a few good games and that they need to maintain a high level of performance.

“We need to be more consistent with our results and especially with [the way we are] playing. We need to grow – we cannot go down like this,” he plunged his hand down as if descending on a roller-coaster, “and then one time here,” he placed his hand at an invisible peak. “If you play not so good then play a six (out of ten) and then only better (than six). We need to do that more.”

That stance followed on from comments Martinus made earlier in the season, after the 1-1 draw with Albirex Niigata at Nissan Stadium in Round 4.

“If you want to be at the top of the league you cannot make these silly mistakes,” the 26-year-old said after Marinos had gifted Albirex an equaliser in a game the home side were dominating.

“They don’t make chances, they did nothing, and we created a lot of chances but we didn’t score them. Then you need to look at yourself and think for yourself. I think we need to speak about this, but we also need to keep on going because we also did a lot of good things.”

His teammate Milos Degenek was in full agreement on that front.

“I think that’s the big difference between top, top clubs and clubs who are all on the same level – if you use your chances,” the Australian said after that match on 18 March.

Football Channel, Friday 23rd June, 2017

“A big team needs only one or two chances in a game, and I think we kind of missed out on that today. I think this was a game we had to win because we did everything well and pretty much just didn’t score.”

David Babunski was similarly disappointed with Marinos’ failure to make their supremacy count against Albirex, but detected positive signs in the team’s beginning to the 2017 campaign and was optimistic they would only get better as the season wore on.

I think we had a fantastic start and then we faced a very strong team, Kashima where we also played quite good,” the Macedonia international said of the narrow 1-0 loss away to the reigning champions in Round 3. “I think we proved to ourselves that we could win, that we are ready to compete with any team, that we can be one of the top teams in the J.League.”

Ten games down the line and Marinos have certainly built on that promise, thanks in no small part to the influence of the overseas players brought in by City Football Group. Martinus, Degenek, Babunski, and Hugo Vieira have all made crucial contributions to the cause, but the team’s array of domestic talent has also caught the eye.

“I think we have a very, very, very talented team,” Martinus said after the recent win over Tokyo. “Some players are out now which is difficult for us, maybe we have to have a little bit of a bigger squad to cover that, but I think we have quality players and also young players who are very good.

“For example, Jun (Amano) – for me he can play easily in Europe, easily. He doesn’t play so much but he has a lot of qualities. I don’t know, maybe a lot of people don’t see it, but I train every day with him and he’s really, really good.

“His first touch, and he can turn with a man at his back so easily and not many people can do that. His left foot is also very dangerous; you saw in the last game how he gave the ball to me (with a cross that led to Hugo Vieira’s opener against Frontale), it was perfect. And he can do this a lot, with his free kicks also. If he just keeps on training then for me he can easily play in Europe, easily. In Holland for sure.”

For the time being Marinos will be content for him to keep his concentration on J.League duties though, and if Amano and co. can pick up another three points against Vissel this weekend it will certainly lay down a marker that the team is one to be reckoned with.


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