Shinji Kagawa has played down Japan’s 1-0 victory over France, insisting his side have achieved nothing yet despite recording a famous win.
A late goal from the Manchester United midfielder saw Japan win in Paris but the 23-year-old has told his team-mates they have a lot to improve on before they are at a similar level to their opposition.
He told reporters: “It’s an important result. Right now I’m in a tight spot with the team so I wanted to find some confidence. As a team we still have to improve, and it was a friendly so (Franck) Ribery didn’t start, so if you think about it calmly there isn’t quite a sense of having achieved anything.”
The visitors stole the victory with a counterattack from a wasted set-piece from Les Bleus, and Kagawa revealed keeping the score level at half-time and waiting for an opening in the second period was always the game plan.
“We couldn’t get the ball, and all of France’s players are talented and skilled so we kept losing the one-on-ones,” he said.
“In the first half our line got pulled back and we weren’t able to attack, and we felt the pressure of playing away.
“We were confident we could move the ball around but then the game started and it wasn’t that simple so more than anything it was huge for us to end the half scoreless.
“Zac (Alberto Zaccheroni) told us to push our line up, but also that the players on the sides were struggling on defence so to make sure we supported them. Also he told us to get behind their full backs when we had the ball.”