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15:24Oct 29th2015Finishing second for Antlers is like finishing last, says Shoji

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Finishing second for Antlers is like finishing last, says Shoji

Gen Shoji says Kashima Antlers cannot be satisfied with second place, urging his team-mates to lift the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup in Saturday’s final against Gamba Osaka.

The defender - already a pillar of the side at 22 - won his first piece of silverware at Antlers in the final of the 2012 cup, in which he started in the final against Shimizu S-Pulse.

And Shoji is hopeful his team can live up to the expectations of the club and fans again when they face off against the holders Gamba.

Gen Shoji says Kashima Antlers cannot be satisfied with second place, urging his team-mates to lift the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup in Saturday’s final against Gamba Osaka.

The defender - already a pillar of the side at 22 - won his first piece of silverware at Antlers in the final of the 2012 cup, in which he started in the final against Shimizu S-Pulse.

And Shoji is hopeful his team can live up to the expectations of the club and fans again when they face off against the holders Gamba.

“On the Tuesday of the final, [then-manage] Jorginho told me that I would be used on the left side. I couldn’t sleep well that night,” he said. 

“That was Tetsu Araiba’s position; he gave me a lot of advice and I have a lot of respect for him because of that. Recently I spoke to him on the phone and something he said struck a chord with me. 

“He told me: ‘For Kashima Antlers, finishing in second place is the same as finishing in last place’. If you don’t get the championship, it doesn’t matter. Kashima wouldn’t be Kashima without winning titles.’ 

“We’re a team that wins titles and as players we can’t forget that. We have to preserve that legacy and make people think Kashima are strong.”

Antlers have enjoyed a remarkable turnaround since Masatada Ishii took over the reins in July, and are in contention to win the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League title as well.

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