It may have been blind optimism up to now but this is the first week I’m willing to say for sure ‘We are relegated’.
It still is mathematically possible to avoid relegation but it requires us to get 6 wins while 1 of Omiya, Urawa and Niigata fail to pick up a single point. After watching us against Kofu last weekend, neither of these things is going to happen.
Having accepted relegation I think the best thing the team can do is try and get the squad ready for next year.
Which players don’t want to play in J2 and will leave in December?
Which players are going to retire?
Who has wages which can’t be justified by their performances?
Which young players can prove worthy of an extra year on their contract?
If these questions can be answered and the players left grouped together now they can get some invaluable experience of J1 football in preparation for the season after next, and seeing what it will take to be a professional footballer.
It might seem like giving up, and potentially we would finish the season with no Nakamachi, Nauoka, Matsuura, Shigematsu, but in reality it is a forward thinking idea which could have huge benefits in the future.
As for the game this weekend, we’ll probably win having now been relegated, but it will mean nothing in the long run.
Avispa 2 – 0 Sanfrecce
I expect us to win now that it means nothing. Asano won’t give experience to the kids, rather keep playing Matsuura to get more games before he goes back to Jubilo and let Hideya get a couple of goals before he signs for one of the clubs getting promotion.