National team completes Austria trip with goalless draw with Andorra at the Untersberg Arena on Saturday
Alberto Zaccheroni pleased with UAE progress after first Asian Cup training camp
UAE manager Alberto Zaccheroni said his squad can take plenty of positives from their first Asian Cup training camp after concluding their trip to Austria with a goalless draw with Andorra on Saturday.
Zaccheroni has been given five training camps to get his players ready for the 2019 Asian Cup, where as hosts, expectations are high for the UAE.
With one camp down and four to go, the Italian believes the squad is on the right track, despite their continued difficulties in front of goal. In Zaccheroni’s 11 matches in charge, the UAE have found the net only four times.
“We had a good camp which concluded with the friendly. The result wasn’t important but there were a lot of good things we can take forward,” Zaccheroni said.
“We put in a lot of our plans from the camp to practice in this game. We tried out a few combinations, created a few scoring chances and defended well, and overall a satisfying performance.”
The friendly was the UAE’s first match since the 2018 King’s Cup in Thailand last March, where they missed out on a third-place finish after suffering a 1-0 loss to Gabon.
Former Japan, Inter Milan and Juventus manager Zaccheroni travelled to the camp in Salzburg with a 27-man squad. They played several friendlies with Austrian and Italian clubs before the Andorra game.
“This is the first phase of our preparation for the Asian Cup,” Zaccheroni added. “We have a good strategy and we can only improve from the camps we have planned.
“We are thankful to all the clubs for releasing their players ahead of their own training camps ahead of the domestic season.”
The squad returns to the UAE on Sunday and the players will report to their respective clubs ahead of the Arabian Gulf League season, which kicks off with the Super Cup clash between league and President’s Cup champions Al Ain and league runners-up Al Wahda in Cairo, Egypt on August 25. The league then starts on August 30.
In September, Zaccheroni’s men will regroup in Girona, Spain for a two-week camp, with matches against Trinidad and Tobago on September 6 and Laos on September 11.
From October 6 to 16, the squad will be based in Barcelona for their third camp, while their last two camps will be on home soil in November and December.
The UAE are in Group A of the Asian Cup alongside Thailand, India and Bahrain.