Abu Dhabi: Al Ain’s Swedish striker Marcus Berg felt their humiliating 4-0 loss at the hands of Ajman in the Arabian Gulf League at their backyards was ‘embarrassing’ to say the least.
“There is no excuse for the way we performed and we cannot look for excuses. Every point in the league is important, we have a lot to play for if we want to be in the Champions League next season. We have to take every possible point in the league,” said Berg, adding that, their dream of retaining title has ended long back but that doesn’t mean they take their foot off the pedal.
“For Al Ain we cannot give up this way. The match against Al Duhail in Doha has nothing to do with this result. If we perform like this it will be very tough. Just because we are far behind from first position doesn’t mean we give up. We have then four very easy goals. We have to show we can bounce back,” said Berg, who has urged all the players to up the tempo.
“It is a hard time for us and we have to stay together. Words mean nothing if we don’t show on the pitch. As long as I’m here, I want to give my best for the club. I have not decided on my future yet. I will only decide on that at the end of the season; as of now my focus is with the team,” added Berg, whose side will be playing Sharjah next on Wednesday.
On the other hand, Al Jazira’s head coach Damien Hertog hailed the spirit shown by his players after they rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Ittihad Kalba 4-2 on Saturday night.
“The match should not have gone ahead. There was a lot of rain which made the pitch very difficult for both teams,” Hertog said in his post-match press conference.
“The players were really struggling and we conceded two early goals because of this. But we always believed in ourselves and kept trying hard to get back into the game. We managed to do that when we scored twice before half-time which was very crucial for us.
“Although the pitch improved in the second-half, we couldn’t pass the ball freely to each other but we showed strong character and mentality to give us this win. We deserved to win the match and I want to congratulate the players for this important victory.”
The result was Al Jazira’s second successive victory and it has elevated them to the third spot in the standings.
“Finishing first is very difficult but we want to keep the pressure on the teams above us. We want to win all the games but we will take it match by match,” said the Dutchman, whose side will be playing bottom-placed Dibba next.