Yasuhito Endo has hailed Gamba Osaka for the growth they exhibited in their climb to the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup final.
The Japanese Treble winners are back in the final of this year’s tournament – one year after they lifted the trophy – where they will face Kashima Antlers on Saturday.
And Endo has praised their commitment, believing the progress they showed as a squad en route marks this season as a success regardless of the outcome.
Even though we were without our national team representatives and our fixture schedule was very busy, we were able to play at the same level of quality,” the captain said.
“We used a lot of our young players, but whether it’s the Cup or the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League all of our players - regulars and reserves - trained at the same level in order to raise the strength of the team, and the fact that we manage to keep our form is a big takeaway.
“We had to play home-and-away legs in the AFC Champions League and that taught to build a proper understanding amongst the players, which gave us a chance to win in the second leg.
“These lessons learnt was the key in us reaching the [Nabisco Cup] final.”