x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Do not judge me, says Olaroiu after switch over from Al Ain to Al Ahli

Romanian says move was on before season ended, but he will not give details on why he left UAE champions, writes Ahmed Rizvi.

Cosmin Olarolu, the new coach at Al Ahli football club, Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National
Cosmin Olarolu, the new coach at Al Ahli football club, Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

DUBAI // Cosmin Olaroiu dismissed suggestions that money was the biggest consideration in his surprise move from Al Ain to Al Ahli, and claims he was forced to look at other options after negotiations with the Arabian Gulf League champions reached a dead end.

Olaroiu, 44, who guided Al Ain to back-to-back league titles in the last two seasons, stunned the UAE football fraternity last week by accepting a three-year deal at Ahli, estimated to be worth €4 million (Dh 19.2m) a year, plus perks.

Olaroiu insists there was little difference between the offers from Al Ain and Ahli, and another unnamed club, except the terms of the contract and the tenure. The Romanian opted for Ahli because the Dubai club showed more desire to sign him, he said.

"With Al Ain, we started talking before the end of last season and I told them maybe I will not continue," Olaroiu said last night after being presented as Ahli's new manager.

"I don't want to talk about the reasons. They tried to convince me to stay, but our negotiations reached a dead end.

"We reached a stage where they said, this is the last offer they can make, and I started considering other offers.

"From the offers I had, the only difference was the terms of the contract and the years. I had an offer from another club as well, but you need to feel these people really want you and you go to that club. And this was my feeling.

"You have to choose what is best for you, what you believe in. Nobody should judge you. I did my job there [at Al Ain]. I spent two years and won two titles and this is the main thing."

He is hoping he can lead build on the success former coach Quique Sanchez Flores enjoyed in the past two seasons with Ahli and take them to the league title.

"I know Ahli have a great history and they want to be at the top again," he said. "Our wish is to get them there. We know it will not be easy, but you have to accept the challenge. So for me, this is a new challenge and I will work with them to reach our targets.

"Of course, we want to win the league and that is the main target. But the main thing for me is to play good football in every game. If you play good football, the results will come.

"I don't want the team to play bad football, score one goal by chance and win the game.

"That's not my philosophy. When I go to a team, the first thing I do is to make them play at the level I want and the results come automatically."

Olaroiu's first official game as Ahli boss will be the season-opening Super Cup match against his former club on August 30.

He understands that he might face angry fans from the Garden City, but insists nobody has a right to judge him. "People judge on the basis of how things appear to them or what they know," he said.

"They don't know the full facts and that's why you get such reactions. I know they are upset and that is normal, but nobody should judge anybody else.

"Personally I have never judged anybody on how he lives or what he chooses in his life."

arizvi@thenational.ae

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