Lions coach: It's easy to only defend, we will try to attack Saudi
Japanese coach says they won't ditch their attacking style against Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia stand before the Lions in their next World Cup qualifier, but coach Tatsuma Yoshida wants his men to overcome another opponent first - the one in their heads.
The Japanese coach is urging his charges to conquer their own fear before playing against the Middle East giants, who are ranked world No. 70 - 87 rungs above the Lions.
When asked what would be his words in the dressing room before tomorrow morning's match at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Buraidah, he said: "We are always a challenger, we must try. Don't be scared, don't be afraid. That's all."
Yoshida has certainly led by example - telling the Lions to stick to their own playing style which has seen them score nine goals in the five matches under his charge.
"It is easy to only defend," he added. "Many times during the match, we can opt to do only defending, but this is not my style. We will do our best, we will try to attack against Saudi, we know this is very difficult but we want to challenge and we want to also win."
Saudi Arabia have played only one qualifier - a 2-2 draw with Yemen last month. The result piled pressure on their coach Herve Renard who took over only in July.
The Frenchman, who coached Morocco at last year's World Cup, has since dropped several players, observed Yoshida.
"Saudi Arabia are one of the strongest teams in Asia, maybe No. 1, I rate them on the same level as Japan, South Korea, North Korea and Qatar," said Yoshida.
"They didn't win their last match against Yemen. but they could create many scoring chances and couldn't score.
"They have changed nine players this time... technically and tactically, they are strong and they also have good technique.
"I watched about five Saudi games and in all, they dominated the matches.
"They have good build-up and good rotation but they couldn't score.
"They know that they must win the match against us but we must try to play."
The Lions have been unbeaten in their last three matches, all coming against Middle Eastern sides.
They drew 2-2 with Yemen and defeated Palestine 2-1 in their opening World Cup qualifiers at home last month, before holding Jordan to a 0-0 draw in Amman last Saturday.
When asked what was key to that run, Yoshida said: "Yeah, before, the results have not been good against Middle East teams.
"Now it's one win and one draw. Yeah, these are good results... because the boys do good strategy, they did pretty well to follow our tactics and concepts.
"We have some concepts in terms of how we want to attack and defend. The boys understood well.
"Sometimes, we are lucky but luck is sometimes very important in football."
What Yoshida did not add was that you make your own luck only if you are brave enough to conquer your own fear.