Alberto Zaccheroni said he is not losing sleep over external expectations ahead of Japan's opening FIFA World Cup game against Ivory Coast.
Despite coming from behind to secure a fifth consecutive win against Zambia (4-3), in what was Japan's final warm-up match before the World Cup, pundits are unsure what to expect from the Asian champions.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has tipped Greece and Ivory Coast to reach the knockout rounds ahead of Group C rivals Japan and Colombia, while former England international Michael Owen said Zaccheroni's men could be the surprise packet of the tournament.
But Zaccheroni said he is not taking any notice of what anyone else believes about Japan's chances of success in Brazil ahead of Saturday's clash with Ivory Coast, especially after forward Keisuke Honda recently claimed his team could go on and win the World Cup.
"You've just named two very important managers (Jose Mourinho and Marcelo Lippi) and even they can't agree on what Japan is going to do (at the World Cup)," the Italian told reporters.
"That shows that there are no certainties in football, we all will approach this tournament with what we believe can do.
"The only thing I'm sure of is that today I'm the only one in charge. My players know that the only thing I ask of them is to focus 100 percent on how to play better than our opponents."
Japan have gained plenty of admirers for their attacking brand of football in the lead up to the World Cup, but their defending has left a lot to be desired.
The Asian giants have kept just one clean sheet in nine games, with 13 goals conceded in the process, however defender Yuto Nagatomo is counting on the team's attack to get the job done in Brazil.
"I think when we've conceded goals in recent games it has been because of the lack of determined final touches," the Inter fullback said.
"I'd rather play aggressively with the best plays to win than focus on defence.
"That's why we've been practicing for four years, and we are confident with that."
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|Coach: S. Lamouchi|
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