Tokyo: Manchester United star Shinji Kagawa appeared dissatisfied with his goalless performance when Japan defeated the United Arab Emirates 1-0 ahead of next week's World Cup qualifier.
The Asian Cup holders got their win on Thursday in Niigata from Dutch Vitesse Arnhem striker Mike Havenaar's header off Yuichi Komano's pinpoint cross in the 69th minute.
But Red Devils new boy Kagawa left the pitch to be replaced by Stuttgart striker Shinji Okazaki at half time, with his highlight being a back-heel pass for CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda's first shot on goal in the second minute.
"Of course, I wanted to play more time, because I always try to score a goal. But it's up to the coach to decide. I must think over my performance, because I couldn't score," said a dejected Kagawa after the game.
"I can't say anything as I played only 45 minutes. It would have been different if I was able to score when I received a pass from (Hiroshi Kiyotake)," added Kagawa, who has not scored in the last three games for the national side.
His preferred position, a central role behind the striker, is filled by Honda, favoured by Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni.
Football columnist Sergio Echigo writing in the Nikkan Sports said Japan did not play well overall.
"In particular, Kagawa couldn't work well with others. It's serious. He is not sharp and almost faded out."
"Zaccheroni's tactics are also questionable. Why he doesn't keep Honda on the bench in the beginning and try to use Kagawa in a position just behind strikers?
"He can also send Honda to the position occupied by skipper (Makoto) Hasebe, who has been slowing down recently, and put Kagawa behind the forwards."
"The coach's tactics are not clear enough. If Japan play like this, It will be not easy against Iraq on September 11," Echigo warned.
Japan will face Iraq next Tuesday at the Saitama stadium, leading Group B on seven points from two wins and a draw in the Asian final qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup.
Australia, Iraq and Oman each have two points, ahead of Jordan on one.