181224 al ain coach
Al Ain coach Zoran Mamic argues with a linesman during the final at the Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: Having led Al Ain to a historic Club World Cup final against Real Madrid and stunning high profile teams like African Champions ES Tunis and Copa Libertadores winners River Plate on the way, Al Ain coach Zoran Mamic has certainly enhanced his reputation.

The Croatian chose not to keep his coaching ambitions under wraps after his side’s 4-1 defeat to Spanish top notch side Real Madrid in a historic final. “It’s no secret my dream is to be a manager in Europe. But I’m here now and very happy here. I’m thankful to Al Ain to be part of this great club, to be the coach of one of the biggest teams in the region,” said the Croatian.

“I don’t know what will happen in future. It’s always a dream for any player or manager to move into bigger clubs. I was a player in Germany for nine years and I speak German and maybe there will be an opportunity, but I don’t know,” said Mamic, who hailed the spirit shown by his players to come this far in the tournament.

“Congratulations to Real Madrid, they deserved to win this trophy as they presented good football and a lot of quality.

“I think at the end we played a good tournament. It was very hard for us as we had to play four games in 10 days. We didn’t have enough power to make life difficult for Real,” said Mamic, who felt that his team had a few good chances but failed to capitalise on them.

“We had some good opportunities in the first half, especially Hussein El Shahat. But we couldn’t make it count and at this level you have to win those chances,” said Mamic, who felt the biggest plus for the team from the tournament was the self-belief.

“The team believed they can produce good results and for me as a coach, I was able to see the players carry out the instructions of the technical staff. There is plenty to learn from this tournament like how to play with the big guys but on the other hand we have to be proud in what we achieved. Before the tournament, nobody expected Al Ain to play in the final. That’s why we have to be proud, happy and enjoy the moment,” said Mamic.

“However, this is now history for us because we have to forget this tournament and come back to reality and prepare for the domestic competitions.

“The players also know they can now play at the higher levels. It’s good for them and good for me to know there is quality in the team. There are many plus points that we can take forward,” added Mamic.