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Ten Cate rues missed chances, vows to reach quarter-finals

Al Jazira coach admits his side lack quality in certain positions after losing to Al Ahli in an AFC Group A fixture

Image Credit: AFP
Al Ahli’s midfielder Waleed Bakshween (left) vies for the ball with Al Jazira’s midfielder Mbark Boussoufa (right) during their AFC Champions League match in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Missed chances cost them the game, Al Jazira coach Henk ten Cate said after his side’s 2-1 loss against Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli in the AFC Group A fixture at Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday.

“I think we played very good football and again we did not deserve to lose. Football is about two things — creating chances and scoring goals. The first one we did all right but the second one, we didn’t. We scored one goal and should have scored at least four,” said ten Cate, adding that their rivals punished them for their two big defensive errors.

“It is not the first time but hopefully, it will be the last time,” added ten Cate, who also went on to reveal that his team lacks depth in certain positions.

“At the end of the day, there is one conclusion — that at some positions we lack quality. You cannot hide from that and this is the case in some positions. We cannot improve any more, so we have to try to help strengthen this position by the way we play.

“With our tactics, we have to make sure we don’t expose some players where they can be exposed. This is what I’m thinking because in a couple of weeks’ time we will be playing in the Round of 16,” said the Dutchman who was also closely following the contest between Iran’s Persepolis and Qatar’s Al Sadd.

Having finished second in the group, Al Jazira will be meeting Persepolis, who topped Group C with their 1-0 win over Al Sadd.

“I saw the game between Persepolis and Al Sadd and we are now already thinking about that. Hopefully, we have enough time to recover and go ahead,” said ten Cate, who was confident of his team achieving what the club has achieved before — reaching the quarter-finals.

“I believe we can go to the quarter-finals. I believe this fully because our team is playing better every week. My worry will be if we don’t create but we create a lot. This is a good thing but the bad thing is we are taking many chances to score.

“We have quality in the attack [and] maybe they are now in an unlucky spell. In a period that is not going their way but Ali [Mabkhout], Romarinho and Ahmad Attas all have the quality to score goals. It is going to change for the best I’m sure,” said ten Cate, who also asserted that he too was “extra motivated” for the remaining part of the tournament.

“ For me too, this is a challenge. If you join a club then you want to be a part of their history. We won the President’s Cup and the Arabian Gulf League and now I want to be the first coach to take the team to the quarter finals of the AFC Championship. So I will do everything possible and put all my experience behind to take this team as far as I can.”

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