x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Pro League: Slouching Dubai side searching for answers against Al Ahli

Rene Marsiglia is ready to use any means, including threats and disciplining, to help his Dubai team recover from their recent three-game slump, writes Ahmed Rizvi.

Dubai head coach Rene Marsiglia has vowed to stay with his club despite three straight losses and 12 goals conceded. Jake Badger for The National
Dubai head coach Rene Marsiglia has vowed to stay with his club despite three straight losses and 12 goals conceded. Jake Badger for The National

DUBAI // Rene Marsiglia acknowledges his Dubai team are in the midst of a crisis and the Frenchman has vowed to do everything possible to arrest their slide.

Dubai, who made a promising start to the season with 12 points from their first seven Pro League games, have lost three consecutive games and Marsiglia believes the 5-0 defeat at Baniyas in the 16th round dealt a massive psychological blow to his team.

"We have lost three games in a row, conceded 12 goals and scored one goal," said the Dubai coach, whose team will host Al Ahli on Friday night.

"This confirms that the team is going through a difficult phase and all of us need to work together to restore Dubai to their previous level.

"These defeats have affected the players psychologically, especially the heavy 5-0 loss to Baniyas, and a win is the only solution to come out of our current situation. That will be our target in this game and we believe the team's fighting spirit will help restore us to the levels we showed at the start of the season.

"You have to be very clear that when there's such a clear drop in performance that it's very difficult to go into matches with confidence, so the small problem will have the biggest consequences on you."

Dubai had managed three wins from their first seven games, but in their last 10 matches the club have got maximum points from only one match – a 1-0 win over relegation-threatened Al Shaab.

Overall, they have seven draws, which is the most for any team in the top flight, and probably suggests a side that has been unable to close out matches.

"If you are playing a good match and winning, the mistakes won't show," Marsiglia said.

"When you're losing game after game, every mistake will be amplified. This has a negative effect on a player, especially on their mentality.

"So my job as a coach is to be able to relieve the stress and the pressure from the players to try and improve as much as possible."

The changes during the January transfer window also seem to have upset the rhythm of the team. The Brazilian Juliano Roberto Antonello was brought in for Alhassane Keita while the club were forced to release Simon Feindouno, one of their most influential players, after the Guinean failed a medical test.

First, the Spaniard Juan Quero was tried as his replacement, but the management eventually settled for Rodrigo Vergilio.

Marsiglia, however, does not believe those two changes are responsible for the team's present woes.

"It's the same group of players that had positive results at the beginning of the season, the same group are now facing the slump and I hope the same group of players will now come out of it and play better to the end of the season," he said.

And Marsiglia, the former Nice manager, has vowed to stay with them and help the team ride out their current crisis.

"I will not leave them to hang dry," he said. "I will discipline them, I will encourage them, I will even threaten them if needed to be able to come back to the level that is accepted and also to gain confidence in themselves. This is my philosophy, what I believe in. This is football. We will not give up, we will continue to work hard."

Additional reporting by John McAuley


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