x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Past results are not a worry as Zenga focuses Al Jazira on today’s challenge

Walter Zenga, the Al Jazira coach, shrugged off his team’s woeful recent form before meeting Al Rayyan of Qatar in the penultimate game of Group A in the Asian Champions League (ACL).

Walter Zenga (in blue) wants Al Jazira to focus on Wednesday's match against Al Rayyan  and not past disappointments. Ravindranath K / The National
Walter Zenga (in blue) wants Al Jazira to focus on Wednesday's match against Al Rayyan and not past disappointments. Ravindranath K / The National

Walter Zenga, the Al Jazira coach, shrugged off his team’s woeful recent form before meeting Al Rayyan of Qatar in the penultimate game of Group A in the Asian Champions League (ACL).

Jazira went down to lowly Emirates 3-2 in their last game, extending their winless streak to six in both the ACL and the domestic Arabian Gulf League.

The downward slide began with a 2-2 away draw against Esteghlal of Iran in the ACL, followed by more draws against Al Wahda and Al Nasr. Worse, Jazira blew a 3-0 lead against Wahda.

Then they lost to Esteghlal, Al Ahli and Emirates.

“We don’t have to think too much about those results, but focus on winning the next game against Rayyan,” Zenga said.

“Of course, the recent results are not encouraging as we head for this game, but it certainly doesn’t reflect our abilities and the quality of players we have in our squad.”

Zenga still feels he is on target with achieving his objectives when he took charge of the Abu Dhabi club from the Spaniard Liu Milla in late October.

“When I took over the team, we set goals to compete well in the ACL and winning one of the local tournaments,” he said.

“We have two games left in the ACL and stand a good chance to reach the round of 16.

“Then we are playing in the Arabian Gulf Cup final on Saturday [against Ahli] and this means the team is on track in achieving these objectives.”

Jazira are in second in Group A on seven points, two behind the leaders Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia, who meet Esteghlal (4 points).

Rayyan have three points and would need to win both their games and hope Shabab win their two remaining matches to have a chance of going beyond the group stage.

apassela@thenational.ae

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