After a series of disappointing results in the early stages of the J1 League’s second stage, Massimo Ficcadenti finally found a reason to smile after FC Tokyo’s 3-1 win over Vegalta Sendai on Wednesday night.
The capital side have struggled to find results without striker Yoshinori Muto, who joined Germany’s Mainz following the conclusion of the first stage in June.
“We have been looking for new solutions after Muto’s departure,” Ficcadenti told Football Channel. “Of course it is not easy, because a player like Yocchi has a lot of qualities and he can play well together up front with anybody else.
“We know that Yocchi is a top player, that is why he has moved to the Bundesliga!”
The Italian also discussed the team’s two new foreign strikers, Spaniard Fran Sandaza and Australian attacker Nathan Burns, who joined the club in July.
“Burns is a player who is very quick in the last 15-20 meters, a player who immediately aims toward the penalty area,” Ficcadenti said. “He needs to tune up a bit; he has played with the national team but hasn’t played any club football [for a while], so he needs time to improve and to fit in.
“Sandaza is very strong physically and clearly he needs to get fit. I used him a bit more than Burns so far, but he needs to improve his physical condition.
“Without a top physical condition he will struggle, because the game here is rather quick and it is important to understand the rhythms of the game to fit in.”
Wednesday’s win put Tokyo in third place in the year-long standings, which would qualify them for the year-end Championship playoffs were the season to end today.