x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Arabian Gulf League: Fossati wipes slate clean to build for tomorrow

Coach, unveiled as new coach, says Al Ain must forget recent successes and focus on future under new management. John McAuley reports.

Jorge Fossati, centre, was introduced as the new manager of Al Ain, the UAE champions, last night at Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium.
Jorge Fossati, centre, was introduced as the new manager of Al Ain, the UAE champions, last night at Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium.

AL AIN // Jorge Fossati says Al Ain must forget about recent successes and concentrate on a bright future under new management, after he was officially introduced as the UAE champions' new manager.

The Uruguayan was confirmed on Thursday night as Cosmin Olaroiu's successor, and he has signed a one-year contract with the Garden City club.

He received a rapturous reception on arrival at the outdoor news conference on Sunday night at the Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium, a meeting attended not only by various media outlets, but by a section of the club's support.

Fossati is a coach of considerable pedigree, having enjoyed success with Qatar's Al Sadd he guided them to the 2011 Asian Champions League crown.

However, he stopped short of guaranteeing emulating those achievements in his latest role.

"I never promise results, but believe me, I come with the same mentality you have," he said.

"You are supporters of one of the biggest clubs in the Gulf and together, with you and the players, we need to try to put Al Ain to the top of every competition we have this season.

"I want to speak about Al Ain only from now. I say congratulations to Al Ain for taking the league two consecutive times, but now we need to focus on the present and especially the future.

"With all respect for the past, I'm coming here to take my job and think only about what I can affect. And to convince the players, first you have to have conviction in yourself."

Fossati said he followed the Pro League closely last season, and that Al Ain's march to a second successive top-flight title gives him plenty of reason for optimism going into 2013/14.

He also watched his new charges' struggles in the Champions League, where they failed to emerge from a group containing Al Hilal, the decorated Saudi Arabian side.

For now, though, predictions of bettering their performance on the continent will be reserved until Fossati has had the opportunity to properly evaluate the resources at his disposal.

"Of course, I know the Al Ain team, but this general knowledge is not enough," he said.

"I need to know them better. I'm excited to start the job, because I will become more familiar with the players and can take decisions as soon as possible.

"For sure, this will happen in the next few days, when we'll have more contact with the players."

Fossati was provided that chance immediately after Sunday night's news conference, when he took his first training session together with his assistant coaches. However, before he did so, he was eager to reinforce that, in 20 years as a manager, his players have never questioned his footballing philosophy.

Yet the former Uruguayan national team coach did concede that time represented his only concern, given that he begins his tenure at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium already weeks into pre-season work-outs.

The Super Cup on August 30, against Al Ahli and Olaroiu, looms large.

"We'll try to use this time in the best way, so we'll arrive in the official competitions as best-prepared as possible," Fossati said.

"I promise you to work very hard, in a very serious way, and all the time recognising the big responsibility, because I am at a big club again."

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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