x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Ten Cate is 'deeply ashamed'

The Dutchman has blamed the squad's mentality and a lack of professionalism for the poor run of form that saw him win only one of six matches.

Henk ten Cate was a disappointed man at Al Alhi.
Henk ten Cate was a disappointed man at Al Alhi.

DUBAI // Henk ten Cate has said he will give back his pay for this month after resigning as coach of Al Ahli on Wednesday night following a humiliating 5-0 thrashing by Al Sadd, the Qatari side, in the Asian Champions League (ACL). The Dutchman, a former Ajax and Panathinaikos coach, was the champions' fifth manager since the end of the 2008/09 season, and only took charge on February 6.

"The club doesn't have to pay me anything because I will leave the handout for the 10 days that I have worked this month," he said. "I will give it back to them because it is also very disappointing for the club also I am sure." Ten Cate said a lack of professionalism among the squad had also contributed to the poor run of form. Ahli won just one of their six games under his guidance, a 2-1 victory over lowly Emirate.

He started his reign with a 5-1 loss at Al Ain and in two ACL games the side have conceded nine goals in their two defeats. "I don't feel I am the right person to change the mentality in the team," he said. "I tried my best since I started to create a more professional environment by training more, by training harder, by demanding professionalism from all players, but I had no response. "If you lack quality, you must fight as team. Everybody must fight until the last minute, but we didn't.

"It has everything to do, I think, with the mentality of the team and I cannot change that." But Ten Cate, who was Frank Rijkaard's assistant at Barcelona when they won the Spanish title and European Champions League in 2006, was also quick to accept his failings. "I am deeply ashamed," he added. "I am ashamed for Al Ahli football club and I am ashamed for myself." Despite the results, the Dutchman felt he could turn around Ahli's fortunes, until the game against Sadd.

"I was positive until this game, very positive," he said. "I know this team lack quality. This is not something new to me. As you all know there is a lot of football on television and I watch everything, every night. "So I can see the quality in other teams is higher than in our team." Ivan Hasek, who lead Ahli to the first Pro League title in 2008/09, left last summer to contest the presidency of the Czech Republic Football Association.

His replacement, Ioan Andone, was sacked in November. Mahdi Ali, the UAE Under-20 coach, was put in charge to lead the team until after the Club World Cup, where they were embarrassingly beaten by the part-timers Auckland City. Nouraldine al Obaidi took temporary charge of the team when Ali's deal ran out at the end of the year, until the club appointed Ten Cate, who left Panathinaikos in December 2009, last month.

"I wish Al Ahli and the people within this club all the best, because it is a very warm club and I felt very welcome," he said. "The people I have worked with are fantastic people and they don't deserve this. "The people who are very dedicated to this club, they deserve more from me and from the players." Ahli are in seventh place in the Pro League, with just five wins from 15 games and are 19 points behind the leaders Al Wahda.

@Email:arizvi@thenational.ae