Al Shabab is juggling matches at home and within the Asian Champions League as manager Marcos Paqueta believes the workload has effected his club's performance, writes John McAuley.
Pro League: Al Shabab coach Marcos Paqueta asks league to reconsider next year's schedule
A congested past month has seen the Dubai club struggle to balance domestic obligations with their continued participation in the Asian Champions League, with Shabab playing six matches from March 29 to Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Al Wasl.
There is no respite, though, with Wednesday's crucial Champions League Group B encounter against Lekhwiya swiftly followed by a league game with Dibba Al Fujairah on Saturday.
Then Shabab travel to Uzbekistan for a potentially defining match with Pakhtakor in the Asian tournament before taking on Al Wahda in the President's Cup semi-final May 5.
In all, it makes for 10 matches in 37 days and little room for rest and recuperation. Predictably, Paqueta attributes his side's stuttering league form they have lost their past four games to the heavy workload.
"It's not the only reason, but the pressure of games did influence the performance of our players [against Wasl]," he said. "Because we have played too many games in a short period."
"We have the league and Champions League while we're also preparing for the semi-final of the President's Cup. But unfortunately we have to travel to Uzbekistan to play and then come back a day before we have to play another important match.
"I guess this was a big mistake in the programming for the league. It should be corrected."
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