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Le Guen takes over in Oman

But he will need more than two years before he begins to understand the culture of Gulf football, said John Burridge, the former Manchester City goalkeeper who once coached there.

Paul Le Guen will need more than two years as Oman's coach before he begins to understand the culture of Gulf football, said John Burridge, the former Manchester City goalkeeper who once coached there.

Burridge had two spells as part of the Oman coaching team under Le Guen's predecessor, Claude Le Roy.

Le Guen was confirmed as the new Oman boss this week, signing a two-year deal. He won three league titles with Lyon in his native France at the start of his coaching career, before enduring tougher times recently.

Oman had been without a manager for five months, after Le Roy left the club following the side's poor display in January's Gulf Cup.

Despite his strong association to the previous coaching regime, Burridge said he wishes the new man well, but he said the job will not be easy for a newcomer to the Middle East.

"When a coach comes here from abroad, you have to become one of them," said Burridge, 59, who has been settled in the Gulf since moving here to coach in 1999 and, despite his age, was playing in the Duplays seven-a-side finals at Dubai American Academy last night.

"I hope [Le Guen] does very well, because I regard Oman as my home, but it will take him at least two years to understand the culture and the mentality of Gulf players."

When Le Guen was in charge of Glasgow Rangers, the Scottish side, he soon fell foul of senior players and struggled to assert his authority as a result.

His new bosses are said to approve of his "aggressive" attitude, but Burridge doubts the merit of the kind of abrasive approach that may be accepted in Europe.

"Players here do not respond to the whip, they respond to kindness," the former Al Ain goalkeeping coach said.

 

pradley@thenational.ae

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