Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu: results, not performances, are all that matter at the Asian Cup
Four-time champions take on Iran in Al Ain on Monday for a place in Friday's final
Hajime Moriyasu has said he has no desire to change Japan’s style of play as the four-time champions of the continent stand just one match away from the Asian Cup final.
Japan face Iran for a place in Friday's championship match having thus far largely failed to live up to their billing as one of the continent's powerhouses.
Wins by a one-goal margin over Turkmenistan, Oman and Uzbekistan allowed Moriyasu's side to top Group F before first Saudi Arabia and then Vietnam were dispatched in the knockouts by identical 1-0 scorelines.
Moriyasu, who won the Asian Cup as a player with Japan on home soil in 1992, made the case that only results, not performances, were all that mattered as the Samurai Blue seek a first continental crown since 2011.
“Winning is the most important result in the tournament,” Moriyasu said. “How you achieve and by what score are only secondary. We are still in the tournament because we won our matches.
“The results are the most important for us no matter how we play. The players are aware of that and they are playing consistently well to achieve those objectives.
“We want to continue playing as we have done during this whole tournament and hopefully get another result in our favour which will take us to the final.”
Moriyasu’s side have had three days to recuperate from their quarter-final with Vietnam ahead of Monday's match at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain.
“The players are keeping their focus, their preparation for the next game,” he said.
“We are preparing with the whole team to get them in to peak condition for the next game.
“We already knew every game will be difficult and it didn’t surprise us that every game we play has been tough.
“We are not a perfect team and we are not an experienced team, so we are developing after every game as well as getting the result, which has been a credit to the players.”
While Japan have scored eight goals in the UAE this month they face in Iran one of only two teams left in the tournament yet to concede and Moriyau acknowledged his side are up against one of the best teams in Asia.
“When you reach the last-four stage in the Asian Cup you have to be prepared to play the best teams,” he said.
“We expect to show every opponent our own game and our utmost quality, and that’s the same for tomorrow as well.
“We know Iran is a tough and difficult opponent and we’ll try our best to win this match."
Defender Wataru Endo said Iran will represent Japan's toughest opponents so far.
“Japan is playing with a lot of patience on the pitch and we want to do the same thing tomorrow,” he said.
“As an individual, I do my best. We know Iran as a strong opponent but we want to play our own brand of football.
“Our players throughout the tournament has been adapting well to the difficult times on the pitch but we are getting the result, and that’s what we want to achieve.”
Updated: January 27, 2019 07:45 PM