Excluding any loss excuses, Zlatko: Al Ain ready to face Jeonbuk


In his pre-match press conference, Al Ain’s Croatian coach Zlatko Dalić refrained from making a fuss about the AFC refusal to change the match location from Jeonju Stadium with a bad quality pitch to a better one believing that other issues such as different weather conditions and short pre-match period of time are to be added. “Let’s put any loss excuses aside and concentrate on how to make our dream come true within those remaining 180 or 210 minutes,” he commented.

He pointed out that he was proud to lead Al Ain FC to the podium on several occasions including the AGL, the President’s Cup, 2 Super Cups and the UAE-Moroccan Friendship Cup; “My dream now is to repeat the 2003 scenario and win the 2016 AFC title,” he said.

He expressed his heartfelt thanks to Al Ain Club management, players, technical and admin staffs for renewing their confidence in him reminding that he led Al Ain FC to the 2016 AFC finals following the quarterfinals and semifinals in 2 previous editions of the same championship. “Winning the AFC title is my main pursuit; I’d like also to continue my career with Al Ain FC so we can together accomplish our high aspirations,” he added.

Zlatko pointed out that it was time for him to meet the expectations of Al Ain Club management, players, technical and admin staffs of winning the most precious Asian title following his previous four successful experiences of surviving the Group Stage; one with Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia and 3 consecutive times with Al Ain FC.

He hoped his team would now shake off the disappointment of exiting the AFC semifinals two years ago and bring back the joy of 2003.

“It’s not an easy goal, but I believe Al Ain FC can make history and add the AFC title for the second time to its record because it has determination and great potentials,” he believed.

Speculating on the match, Zlatko thought both finalists would go halves on the chance of winning; “It will be a challenging game, but what worries me the most is that we mobilized all players just 48 hours before the kickoff,” he complained.

“As a finalist,” he continued “Jeonbuk is a highly-ranked team with skillful, speedy and tall players in addition to a strong offensive line. However, we need to concentrate on our own strengths and try to impose our personality in order to achieve our desired result.”

He reminded that Al Ain FC managed during the 2016 edition of AFC tournament to win all its away games versus Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia, the Uzbek Nasaf Qarshi, the Iranian Zob Ahan Esfahan, the Uzbek Lokomotiv Tashkent and Qatar’s El Jaish. “We will play our best and try hard not to conceive any goal taking advantage of the great support from our fans at Jeonju Stadium,” he promised.

Zlatko commended his players’ determination and bravery to regain balance after their opening two-legged loss to Qatar’s El Jaish and to reach the finals; “That’s why I’m strongly confident they will come back with a good result from South Korea,” he said.

He also praised his assisting technical and admin staffs for their great efforts to eliminate any pressures on the players and to create the perfect conditions to enable the team accomplish their Asian dreams. “However, we need to avoid rashness and to keep ball possession,” he warned.

Zlatko considered the qualification for the FIFA Club World Cup a great recognition of the massive efforts which his men exerted during the AFC tournament; “But right now, our minds are preoccupied with successfully completing the AFC two-legged finals,” he noted.

On the absolute stardom of his player Omar Abdurrahman, Zlatko said: “Omar has asserted himself as Asia’s top player; he was voted ‘Man of the Match’ in 8 out of 11 matches; he has a leading personality with a heavily-felt presence on the pitch; besides, his teammates feel comfortable when he plays with them because he knows how to motivate them to unleash their potential.”

He confirmed that Omar and all his teammates are intent on winning the Asian title to add it to their record rich with outstanding achievements.

He evaluated his squad, which boasts excellent players led by Omar Abdurrahman, as one of the top five teams in Asia; “But winning the 2016 AFC title will place us on top of Asia standings,” he added.

Zlatko confirmed that he would assign certain roles to his best player Omar Abdurrahman, in addition “We’ll apply also our strategy of collective responsibility and playstyle in order to guarantee the AFC title.” He concluded.