DUBAI // The Al Ain coach has told his players not to be satisfied with ending an eight-year wait for a league title last season and challenged them to enter a period of dominance.
The Pro League champions travelled to Austria on Monday for a nine-day training camp that will focus on improving fitness levels. Cosmin Olaroiu, their Romanian coach, has ordered double training sessions and arranged two friendly matches with local sides as he bids to make sure his team are in prime condition for the start of their title defence.
"The champion's responsibility is always burdening," Olaroiu said. "Keeping the position we reached needs double effort. Moreover, to attain your targets as players, to reach the board members' aspirations and to please the fans demands serious determination."
Team manager Mattar Al Sahbani said the players understand what is expected by the board of them this season.
"The league champions always try to defend their title and we are fully aware it needs double effort and high concentration," Al Sahbani said. "That is why we started our preparations so early ahead of the Super Cup. We are following a special strategy; we started last season's preparations early - before all the other teams - and we achieved the biggest result.
"We all work towards keeping the trophy in Al Ain next season," Al Sahbani added. "That demands a great effort and much of the commitment and discipline we have already shown. All our players are aware of their duty to the club."
Asamoah Gyan, the Ghana international who last week signed a four-year deal with the club, heads the 23-man squad, but Hilal Saeed and Mohamed Al Dhaheri have been given an extended break.
Injured trio Yusuf Abdulrahman, Mohamed Fayez and Mohamed Rabie are not part of the camp, while Omar Abdulrahman, Daoud Suleiman and Mohamed Ahmed are on national team duty with the Olympic team.
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