x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Club backs 'good coach' Zenga and he is 'under no pressure'

Nasr ready to renew hostilities with rivals after cup battles, and are ready for their meeting in three weeks.

Al Nasr have given Walter Zenga, their head coach, their "100 per cent backing" ahead of Friday's derby match with Al Ahli.

The Italian, who was thought to be under pressure, spoke out after losing to their Dubai rivals in the Etisalat Cup this month when he said his players "owed him and the club" after a string of poor performances.

However, Mohamed Abdurahman, a club spokesman, dismissed talk that Zenga's future was uncertain as he prepares his team to face Ahli at home this weekend as the Pro League resumes after the international break.

Nasr have played Ahli twice in the Etisalat Cup, when both team were without their internationals players. Ahli won 3-2 away before Nasr's 3-2 victory in the return game.

"We are fully supportive of coach Zenga and he is under no pressure," Abdurahman said. "That is 100 per cent and we are only looking forward to taking three points from a big game.

"I heard the talk after our last [league] match about him being sacked, but this is simply not true.

"It has been a difficult couple of weeks, but we do not care what other people might say. We have a good coach, a strong group of players and we are all together at Al Nasr."

Zenga, who captained Italy at the World Cup in 1990, has a full squad to choose from for the visit of Ahli, the clubs' third encounter in three weeks..

Nasr finished third in the table last season, but sit eighth at the moment after just one win from their four Pro League matches so far.

"It has been a difficult start and we now want to get our season going on Friday," Abdurahman said. "This is the only thing that counts, not what people outside the club have to say about us.

"Coach Zenga has worked very hard with the players in recent weeks and they are ready for this match."

ncameron@thenational.ae