x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sanchez Flores 'refused many offers' during brief reign at Al Ahli

The sought-after former Atletico Madrid coach will make a decision on his future at the end of the season.

Qique Sanchez Flores is in demand.
Qique Sanchez Flores is in demand.

DUBAI // Quique Sanchez Flores says he is "very happy" coaching Al Ahli despite speculation surrounding his future.

The former Valencia and Real Madrid star arrived in November to replace Ivan Hasek, who was fired as the Ahli coach following the defeat to rivals Al Shabab in the two-legged final of the Gulf Club Championships.

The former Atletico Madrid, Benfica, Valencia and Getafe manager has since been linked with a number of jobs in Europe, including Chelsea following the club's dismissal of Andre Villas-Boas earlier this month.

Sanchez Flores seems flattered by all the interest, but claims he is too busy with his team to discuss any jobs - even staying on at Ahli.

"I don't think this is the time to think about renewal," the Spaniard said on the eve of Ahli's Pro League derby against Al Nasr.

"I am really focused on my team here and that is the reason I have refused many offers during the recent period. I will make a decision about my future at the end of the season."

Ahli are keen to keep their manager as Sanchez Flores has been a success at the Rashid Stadium, endearing himself to the fans and taking the team into the final of the Etisalat Cup. The former Real Madrid youth team coach is pleased with the work he has done.

"I'm very happy at Al Ahli and I believe I have helped improve the team," he said. "I've had great support, not just from the players and management, but even the fans. I have been overwhelmed by the love they have shown me, not just at the club, but even outside.

"Even when I am outside, shopping at the malls, they come to me, asking for pictures. That is really special."

arizvi@thenational.ae

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