Al Ain defend omissions of Caio and Ruben Ribeiro ahead of Asian Champions League game
Manager Juan Carlos Garrido withdrew pair from plans for remainder of season, saying they did not meet standard
Al Ain manager Juan Carlos Garrido has defended his decision to omit Caio and Ruben Ribeiro from his squad as the club prepare for Tuesday’s crucial Asian Champions League encounter with Al Duhail.
Appointed in February, Garrido chose last week to withdraw both players from his plans for the remainder of the season, saying they did not currently meet the standard required by the Spaniard.
Brazilian winger Caio, who showed dissent when substituted in the recent 4-0 defeat to Ajman, is expected to leave Al Ain for Benfica when his two-year contract expires this summer.
Ribeiro, meanwhile, was signed in October but a contractual issue with former club Sporting Lisbon delayed his debut until February. The playmaker has made only nine appearances for Al Ain.
Asked about the players on Monday, Garrido said: “I am here two months. In these two months I was trying to recover every player. I was trying to get the best performance out of every player. And, finally, the last week I decide that some players have to go out from the squad because I couldn’t get the best performance.
“We need players who are happy here. We need players who want to play for the team. We need players that they feel that they love their teammates, they like the team, they like the club, they like to be here. We need players who we have to feel that they are committed to the goals of the team. So we have to make a team.
“Unfortunately in this club, in this season, many things have happened. You were speaking to me about players with contract, without contracts, and honestly I was doing all my best to recover all these points. But when I see some points were not possible, there is no turning point, it’s not possible to improve, not possible to recover, I have to take some decisions.
“Sometimes these decisions are not popular. But this club in this moment, in my opinion, we are in a key moment. We have to take these decisions, I have to play with players who really want to play in the team, they want to play with top performance.
“Also we are in a transition moment, the club have to start to take important decisions for the future. They need to put out to the players who are not putting in the performance to the team and they have to maybe bring new players, maybe to get new players from the [academy].
“But also essentially to respect the players that now in the team are giving their best performance, the good professionals, the players that are really fighting for the team. This group, the players that we have, they deserve my respect. I’m working with them 100 per cent, I’m trying to give them all my professionalism, all my best work.
“And I insist, when some players are not ready to perform in the team, in my opinion the coach has to put out the players that are not ready to give the maximum performance and be ready, be the players that really want to be in this club.”
Defending Arabian Gulf League champions, Al Ain have slipped from second to fourth in the table following a run of three victories from nine top-flight matches. On Tuesday, they face Duhail in the Champions League needing a positive result to keep alive their chances of reaching the knockouts.
At present, Al Ain sit bottom of Group C at the halfway stage having drawn two and lost one of their three matches thus far. Still the only UAE side to win the competition, they were beaten finalists three years ago.
Updated: April 23, 2019 08:21 AM