x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Al Wasl officials expect players to improve club's position

Injuries and lack of consistency are hurting Wasl but executives promise changes are coming, writes John McAuley.

Injuries to players, such as Mariano Donda, and a lack of consistency have hurt Al Wasl this season.
Injuries to players, such as Mariano Donda, and a lack of consistency have hurt Al Wasl this season.

DUBAI // Al Wasl are determined to turn around their season and will make funds available if necessary this month for new players, according to a member of the club's board.

The Zabeel Stadium team have struggled badly of late, winning two of their past nine Pro League games to slip to eighth in the table, while last week's 1-0 Etisalat Cup defeat to Kalba, this season's second worst side, was greeted with boos from the home supporters.

Furthermore, the continued absence through injury of Mariano Donda, the instrumental midfielder, has contributed to the slump, as has the change of coach following news in October that Bruno Metsu was suffering from serious illness.

Under Guy Lacombe, Metsu's replacement, Wasl have failed to find any consistency, although Ismail Rashid believes the extra endeavour now being shown on the training pitch can spark Wasl into life.

"The players are trying hard to reverse the fortunes of the team and want to make the results better," Rashid said. "We are working hard with the coach to improve the performance.

"However, the players must also react because a team like Al Wasl should not be where we are now in the league. We should be fighting at the top of the table. All the teams go through this at some stage in the season, but we must become better."

The ability to keep Donda on the pitch will be integral to that improvement.

The Argentine playmaker has started only one league game since October, when he collided with a teammate in training and damaged his right knee.

He has also featured twice from the substitute's bench but his influence has been visibly restricted.

Rashid, though, dismissed suggestions the injury is as serious as first feared, saying Donda will soon return to the starting line-up.

"Mariano is now under treatment with the club and hopefully will come back to the team, and at least then we know he can do something good for the team," Rashid said. "And if his injury was bad we would look for another player to replace him, of course.

"But right now, we're not searching for other players, although we will wait to see if anything will happen. The market stays open for one month so there is still time."

Rashid added: "We have had a lot of change this season. Coach Lacombe needs time to get the team working to his style. He is a new page for Al Wasl and did not have the pre-season to work with the players.

"And if he needs extra players, the club can hopefully provide this for him."

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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