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UAE take on Uzbekistan eyeing first win under Zaccheroni

‘I need full concentration from the players in these friendlies’

Image Credit: UAE FA
Action from the international friendly between UAE and Haiti at the Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium. Haiti won 1-0.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The UAE coach Alberto Zaccheroni had just a couple of days to iron out the creases and get his side ready for another international friendly — this time against Uzbekistan.

The action starts at 5pm at the Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain. The contest is expected to be evenly matched as visitors are ranked 76 in the Fifa rankings, just three below the hosts.

The 1-0 loss to higher-ranked Haiti was the UAE’s first encounter under the Italian Zaccheroni’s reign and uncovered a few areas where the team needed urgent attention.

One of them being their inability to convert clear-cut chances. The forwards did all the hard work but just could not get the breakthrough against the last line of Haiti defence. Their inability to start fast also came to the fore.

Zaccheroni had termed the first 25 minutes play as “disappointing”. something that needed to be rectified on a priority basis. Hopefully, the coach has sorted that by now and the team has adapted better to the 4-3-3 combination that Zaccheroni is keen on.

Coach was satisfied with the way his side responded after that slow start. He had stressed that his philosophy is to play “collectively as a team” which his side achieved in the first outing.

“Against Uzbekistan we will be looking to start from the beginning itself. Something what we managed to do only after 25 minutes in the first friendly. There will definitely be new plans and new tactics to go with it. To put things together perfectly and be in best of shape of course we need time. I know everybody want results immediately but in results can’t come that easy,” said Zaccheroni adding that the need of the hour was to get full commitment from the players.

“I need full concentration from the players in these friendlies. If there is full concentration then they can surely do better,” asserted Zaccheroni, who felt that his players started to understand the mechanisms well after the first quarter or so in the first friendly against Haiti.

“They didn’t leave the opponents with any opportunities with close marking and didn’t leave spaces. And then, we had several chances to score but unfortunately it didn’t happen,” the former Japan coach said.

Several players are on the injury list which is a worry for Zaccheroni. However, he was of the view that he will definitely have enough quality players on the bench before the 2019 Asian Cup.

“Injuries are very much a part of sports and we can’t do much about it but I would say we will have enough players before Asian Cup. Our focus is to develop a strong team in defence and attack. As of now we are struggling in finish but the good thing is we are creating chances to score. We will try to involve new face to identify where they can fit in the team. When the real tournaments approaches you will see a different side,” said Zaccheroni.