DUBAI // Al Nasr may have begun the 2013/14 season with two defeats from three matches, but manager Ivan Jovanovic has called for patience as he becomes familiar with his new squad.
The Serbian, who replaced Walter Zenga as coach in June, has overseen a stuttering start to the club’s Arabian Gulf League campaign, with Nasr losing their opening clash at Al Wahda before they suffered another reverse last Thursday, against Al Ahli.
A 2-1 victory at home to Al Shaab was sandwiched between the defeats, leaving Nasr 11th in the table.
The current position does not mirror the pre-season promise that enveloped Al Maktoum Stadium, when a summer of significant investment prompted expectations the club would challenge for a top-four place.
In particular, the arrival of Brett Holman, Ibrahima Toure and Eder Luis suggested Nasr had the attacking resources to thrive.
The substantial outlay has not been reflected by the results, though, although there is a strong sense among the coaching staff that it will not be long until they turn around their fortunes.
Jovanovic highlighted in the aftermath of the Ahli defeat that individual errors have contributed to Nasr’s poor start, and the former coach of Apoel Nicosia, the Cypriot side, stressed the need to eradicate the defensive blunders that have blighted recent displays.
“Of course, we’re not satisfied with three points after three games, and we want to have a better position in the league,” he said.
“But there are many games in front of us to close the points difference.
“In order to do it we have to play better. The target is to play a game with minimum mistakes and at the moment we’re making a lot. And these mistakes cost points. So we have to show a better image on the pitch than we have shown thus far.”
Nasr have a chance to regroup during the next few weeks, as the league programme pauses for the international break.
They have a couple of assignments in the League cup, beginning with a testing trip to Al Shabab before they entertain Al Dhafra six days later.
Their next Arabian Gulf League assignment comes against Emirates club on October 19.
Given the disappointment of the derby with Ahli, Jovanovic wished the Emirates match were sooner, however, he plans to use the league interval to further implement his philosophy.
“For sure, games help the team, and they help me because I haven’t been here for a long time and every day I learn about my team,” he said.
“It’s different preparing for games and actually playing games in the championship; only through the games you can improve.
“We have confidence. We have the spirit of winning and attacking.
“Then the results will come.”