Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

New Al Ain manager Juan Carlos Garrido coy over title talk

Spaniard, who took over from Zoran Mamic, determined to get first match of his stint off to winning start

Al Ain manager Juan Carlos Garrido is not focused on title goals at this very moment. Al Ain FC
Al Ain manager Juan Carlos Garrido is not focused on title goals at this very moment. Al Ain FC

Juan Carlos Garrido refused to talk about title ambitions when he was unveiled as the new Al Ain manager on Thursday.

Instead, he chose to focus on his first game in charge when the Garden City club host Al Nasr in the Arabian Gulf League at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on Friday.

Garrido, 49, who replaced Zoran Mamic as manager, arrived in Al Ain having been relieved from his post at Moroccan club Raja Casablanca following last month's 2-0 defeat to Tunisia's Club Africa in the Arab Club Championship Cup.

The Spaniard said it was normal for people to expect trophies from "top clubs", such as Al Ain, however adding: “I have been here for only a week and want to focus on the next game we play.

“In football, the great value is to think of the next game we are going to play. For me, it’s a very important game because it’s my first match. The players also are working to give their best in this match.

"At this moment, I want the team to work well at every training and if you can do that, we can win matches, and then at the end of the season, we’ll know what we have achieved.”

Al Ain are on 32 points in the AGL table, five behind leaders Sharjah, with nine rounds left. They are returning to the league a week after suffering a humiliating 3-0 defeat at the hands of Al Dhafra.

However, Garrido said he has inherited a good team with good players and insists his job is simply to help them improve and be competitive as a team.

“We are asking the players to keep working, to keep fighting, to keep playing good football,” the 49-year-old said. “This is the way to win games and I’m doing that."

The former Brugge, Real Betis and Al Ahly manager said in the little time he has spent with the squad, he saw plenty of positives in the players. "We can improve like every football team," he added.

"We are working to get the best performance from the team."

Mamic left the UAE to take charge of Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal at the end of January having guided the Garden City club to a historic league-and-cup double in 2017/18.

Updated: February 21, 2019 08:56 PM

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